There are an estimated 33.4 million people living with HIV.
It is not a disease of the past. It is happening now.
In 2007 AIDS killed 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children.
AIDS doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're male or female, rich or poor, gay or straight.
AIDS doesn't care how many or how few people you've had sex with.
There is no vaccine and there is no cure.
But there is always hope.
Every year World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness, but the fight against AIDS doesn't take 24 hours.
There are simple ways to join the fight all year long.
5. Get tested.
For the sake of protecting others as well as yourself, if you may have been exposed to HIV get tested as soon as possible. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get the help you need.
There are many amazing charities doing some amazing things to fight AIDS. Some of my favourites are: The Mercury Phoenix Trust, CANFAR and The Global Fund.
3. Buy things.
Want to donate but kind of want something in return? It's okay, I won't tell. There are lots of companies who are donating money for the sale of certain items. Check out Aldo, MAC, and all the awesome companies that take part in the (Red) campaign (including Starbucks, Gap, Apple, Dell and Hallmark.) Chances are, there is something you already need to purchase that can be bought from a company supporting an AIDS charity.
2. Wear a ribbon.
Wear a ribbon on your shirt. Post one on Twitter or Facebook. Just talking about HIV and AIDS can do a world of good in helping end the stigma.
1. Wear a condom.
Remember, HIV is asymptomatic so your partner may not even know they are infected. As my mother likes to say "Some gifts are meant to stay wrapped."