World AIDS Day is December 1

News Release
For Immediate Release: 11/30/2021

Julie Naughton, Office of Communications, 402-471-1695 (office); 402-405-7202 (cell);

Lincoln – December 1 is World AIDS Day, a day intended to bring attention to the impact of HIV around the world.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), first discovered in the U.S. in 1981, is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. If HIV is left untreated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). While there is currently no known cure, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.

In 2019, 81 Nebraskans were newly diagnosed with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for a positivity rate of 5.1 cases for every 100,000 people.  In 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States and dependent areas. The annual number of new diagnoses decreased 9% from 2015 to 2019. An estimated 1,189,700 people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which this information is available. Of those people, about 87% knew they had HIV.

HIV is transmitted through certain body fluids, including blood, semen, and breast milk. For transmission to occur, these fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue, be directly injected into the bloodstream, or transmitted via a HIV-positive mother to a newborn during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. It is not transmitted via air or water, saliva, sweat, tears, insects, or pets, or by sharing toilets, food, or drinks.

The CDC offers the following tips for starting the conversation about being tested:

  • Share with your health care provider that you are interested in taking an HIV test and ask them which test may be right for you.
  • Be honest. It can be difficult to talk about certain things, like your sex life or drug use. But it is important to share details about your life with your trusted medical provider that could be important to your health. If there are subjects you are uncomfortable discussing, share that with your health care provider.
  • Ask your health care provider which behaviors may increase your risk for HIV. By understanding the factors that can increase your risk for HIV, you can choose to do things to help you decrease HIV risk and stay healthy.

In addition to health care providers being able to perform an HIV test, many medical clinics, substance use programs, community health centers, and hospitals offer them too. You can learn more about HIV testing and find free, fast, and confidential HIV testing near you by using the HIV Service Locator on the CDC Let's Stop HIV Together website:; by visiting, or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).


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