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World Aids Day 2011: Getting to Zero

12-1-11 Feature Story:

Launched in 1988, World AIDS Day has become a major international health event, providing opportunities to raise awareness about the epidemic, commemorate those who have died, celebrate milestones in increasing access to treatment and prevention services, and inspire positive action steps to fight the disease at the local level.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is "Getting to Zero." After 30 years of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, this year's focus is on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths. Click here to learn more about this year's campaign.

The worldwide effort to address the devastation and prevention of HIV/AIDS began in the mid-1980s when the World Health Organization (WHO) assumed the lead responsibility on AIDS in the United Nations (UN). However, by the mid-1990s, the epidemic's growing reach made it clear that a comprehensive, UN-based approach was critical. Acknowledging that no single UN organization could undertake the range of actions necessary to overcome the epidemic, officials decided to combine the expertise, resources and networks of various agencies. In 1996, six UN bodies were brought together to form the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS - or UNAIDS. The organizations include the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), WHO and the World Bank.

Working together through the UNAIDS Secretariat, the organizational sponsors strive to form strategic alliances with other UN agencies, national governments, corporations, religious organizations, community-based groups, non-governmental organizations, media and regional and national networks of people living with HIV/AIDS. This collaborative work is primarily focused on improving the quality and scope of ongoing prevention, care and support and addressing the societal factors that increase people's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

What should I do on World AIDS Day? Click here to find out.

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