By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — World AIDS Day, designated on December 1st every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.”

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Each year, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, work to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the epidemic.

HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people across the world. The virus attacks the immune system and reduces its resistance to other diseases, thereby putting the life of the patient at risk.

According to UNAIDS, 37.7 million people across the globe were living with HIV in 2020. Of those, 35.9 million were adults and 1.7 million were children 15 years old or younger.

An estimated 1.5 million individuals worldwide acquired HIV in 2020, marking a 30% decline in new HIV infections since 2010.

Though the world has made significant progress since the virus was first discovered in 1984, HIV and AIDS remain a global health crisis.

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The situation has been exacerbated by COVID-19, making the lives of many people living with HIV more challenging.

Florida leads the U.S. in the number of new HIV cases and has the nation’s third highest infection rate, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

In 2019, there were 25,671 people living with HIV in Miami-Dade County and 1,170 people were newly diagnosed with HIV. In Broward, there were 19,483 people living with HIV and 626 people were newly diagnosed with HIV.

To commemorate World Aids Day 2021, the Florida Health Department is holding a series of events in person and virtually.

Click here to see the list of events taking place across South Florida.

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CBSMiami.com Team