Now more than ever, this year’s World AIDS Day marks unprecedented progress toward ending HIV/AIDS and providing proof that investments in research, treatment, and prevention are yielding lifesaving dividends. While there still remain significant challenges in achieving a world without AIDS, we now have roadmaps to get us there. This week, the U.S. Department of State released the “PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS Free Generation,” and last year, the United Nations signed the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, which is a global strategy to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care by 2015. These documents are historic milestones and underscore that we are at a tipping point — the beginning of the end of AIDS — if we intensify efforts, work together, and commit the needed resources.

World AIDS Day, observed on the 1st of December every year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007, of which about 270,000 were children.