Advocates around the globe marked the 7th annual World AIDS Day Dec. 1, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and remembering victims of the deadly disease.
Many are optimistic because of the progress being made in stopping the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. According to the United Nations, new HIV infections have declined by almost 20 percent worldwide.
"For us, this World AIDS Day is different from the others because we can look back now in a year's time and see some difference in terms of the improvement on people's lives, the commitment of government, the synergies of work between civil society and government which is actually improving," said Nonkosi Khumalo, chair of the Treatment Action Campaign against HIV/AIDS. "We're not saying everything is perfect now, but we're definitely going somewhere."
Still, HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of 25 million people globally.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed the United States would continue fighting AIDS until the disease is no more.
"The United States is committed to remaining a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS -- today, tomorrow, and every day until the disease is eradicated," Clinton said Wednesday.
The State Department says the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has helped provide life-saving treatment for 3.2 million men, women and children worldwide in 2010.
In the U.S., fewer than half of all Americans have had an AIDS test.
Health officials say that being screened is the most effective way to keep the virus from spreading.