Recognizing progress and work to be done on AIDS

WASHINGTON (AP) - Activists, politicians and health officials are among those marking World AIDS day.

Worldwide, there are 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988 as an opportunity for the world's governments, health agencies, faith and community organizations to come together and raise awareness about the global AIDS epidemic.

In Beijing, dozens of official volunteers passed out AIDS leaflets while a small group of activists demanded more government recognition and help.

The U.S. plans to give South Africa $120 million. President Jacob Zuma's goal is to get 80 percent of people who need AIDS drugs on them by 2011. His predecessor promoted beets as a treatment.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says there is still much work to do but World AIDS Day is a time to recognize accomplishments and set new goals.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says researchers are closer than ever to having a vaccine.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says President Barack Obama is repealing the HIV entry ban, which prevented people with HIV/AIDS from entering the U.S.

AIDS Activist Christopher Wade says the world needs a more unified global response.

In the Tri-State, Northern Kentucky University will offer free HIV testing from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the student union. In between the testing, there will be a speech by Amy McMahon, the CEO of Stop AIDS. You don't have to be a student to get the testing or hear the speech.

At the University of Cincinnati, a red ribbon display will signify the impact of AIDS on the world's young adults. Red ribbons and information will be available in the Tangeman University Center Atrium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A noon lunch and learn session in the African American Cultural and Research Center will feature guest speaker Cheryl Hutchins of Stop AIDS.

In Indiana, Planned Parenthood's Indianapolis health centers are offering half-price HIV and AIDS testing. The tests will be offered for $12.50 starting Tuesday through by a grant from the Indiana AIDS Fund. The half-price tests will continue until funding runs out.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. With additional reporting from staff.