About 9.4 million people are likely HIV-positive and don’t know it. That’s a key finding from a new report from UNAIDS — and it’s why the theme of this month’s World AIDS Day is “Know your HIV status.”
That’s an important message, HIV/AIDS specialists say, at a time when the disease no longer makes headlines.
“Some people are under the erroneous impression that the epidemic is done,” says Wafaa El-Sadr, global director of the public-health organization ICAP and a professor at Columbia University. But HIV/AIDS remains an enormous problem around the world, she says: “Two million new infections in the past year; still about a million deaths every year.”
Knowing your status, she says, is “the foundation” for preventing new infections.
But simply knowing your status is not enough to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic, El-Sadr and other global-health specialists say.