World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, and the first one was held in 1988.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” In 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled the EHE Initiative, a national collaborative response developed and embraced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Services, National Institute of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration.

The goal of EHE is to reduce new infections by 75 percent in the next five years and by 90 percent by 2030. To reach this goal, efforts will focus on four key strategies that together can end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.: diagnose, treat, prevent and respond.

HIV is 100 percent preventable. The CDC recommends being tested at least once a year if a person engages in activities that can transmit HIV infection. W hen a person with HIV is on effective treatment, it will reduce the level of HIV to "undetectable" levels. This protects their health and makes them incapable of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners; "Undetectable = Untransmittable: U=U.” U = U is a prevention strategy, which is often referred to as Treatment as Prevention.

Sharon Jordan, director of the Office of HIV Prevention and Care, states, “It is important to know your status. People who know their HIV status have the information they need to modify their behavior to protect others and get the treatment and counseling they need to live longer and healthier lives.”

For more information about HIV and free testing, visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/hiv/testing.html