People in the developing world are most at risk to develop HIV and AIDS. This family in Port au Prince, Haiti, has been living with the disease for years.

Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic

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    On December 1, 1988, the world first recognized World AIDS Day. AIDS, which stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is the most advanced stage of HIV—human immunodeficiency virus infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 35 million people all over the world are living with HIV.
    As its name indicates, HIV reduces the efficiency of the immune system, our bodies’ natural defense against infection and disease. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, but there is an effective treatment. The goal of WHO and other health organizations is to ensure that more people in the developing world have access to this treatment.
    Each year, World AIDS Day has a new theme. In 2016, the theme is “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.” 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    access Noun

    ability to use.

    AIDS Noun

    (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) disease that debilitates the immune system, making the victim vulnerable to infections.

    cure Noun

    remedy or way to restore to health.

    developing world Noun

    nations with low per-capita income, little infrastructure, and a small middle class.

    disease Noun

    a harmful condition of a body part or organ.

    efficiency Noun

    ability to accomplish a task.

    germ Noun

    disease-producing microbe.

    HIV Noun

    (human immunodeficiency virus) virus that is a cause of AIDS (anti-immune deficiency syndrome).

    immune system Noun

    network of chemicals and organs that protects the body from disease.

    indicate Verb

    to display or show.

    infection Noun

    contamination or invasion by harmful organisms, such as a virus.

    medication Noun

    drug or other remedy used to treat an illness.

    medicine Noun

    substance used for treating illness or disease.

    microbe Noun

    tiny organism, usually a bacterium.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    reduce Verb

    to lower or lessen.

    reliable Adjective

    dependable or consistent.

    sub-Saharan Africa Noun

    geographic region located south of the Sahara Desert in Africa.

    World Health Organization (WHO) Noun

    United Nations agency responsible for health.