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Spotlight on HIV and AIDS

December 2022

December 1 is World AIDS Day


With COVID-19 and monkeypox dominating headlines in recent times, the threat of HIV and AIDS has likely receded in the minds of many Americans. But approximately 1.2 million[1] people in the US are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which attacks the body’s immune system and can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition that leaves the body more vulnerable to infection and disease, including risks associated with COVID-19. About one in seven[2] people do not realize they are infected with HIV, and there is a risk of HIV resurgence due to a range of factors such as drug use trends, HIV-related stigma, homophobia and transphobia, and lack of access to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

December 1 is World AIDS Day, a chance for people everywhere to show support for those who live with HIV and AIDS, and an opportunity to pause and remember the more than 40 million[3] people who have died from AIDS. There is no cure for HIV—which disproportionately affects Black, African American, Hispanic, and Latino communities compared to other racial and ethnic groups, as well as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men—but there is effective treatment that enables infected individuals to live long and healthy lives without fear of transmitting HIV to others.

As the single largest provider of HIV care in the United States, VA leads the country in HIV screening, testing, treatment, and prevention, while HSR&D investigators continue to help improve the lives and care of Veterans who live with HIV through an active research program that dates to the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a commitment that remains steadfast.

For more information on HSR&D research on HIV, please visit our Research Topic page.

[1] Knowledge of Status | HIV in the US | HIV Statistics Center | HIV | CDC

[2] Too Many People Living with HIV in the U.S. Don’t Know It |

[3] HIV (

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.