New data from UNAIDS, the UN's main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, reveals that an estimated 3.6 million people aged 50 and older are living with HIV. For the first time since the start of the HIV epidemic, 10% of the adult population living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries is aged 50 or older.
Once back in England I met a great guy on a night out. On our second date he disclosed that he was HIV positive... This person educated me. I learned the science behind HIV and this knowledge freed me from the fear that I'd harboured before. More importantly for me though was the openness: when it was relevant, he shared his status, and with his consent, I did the same. What began as cathartic became educational. It was amazing how little people knew!
As we approach World AIDS Day it is vital to highlight that people who live with HIV and AIDS in the developing world need to receive more than just medicine. They need nutritious food as well. We know that 97 per cent of the 7,000 people newly infected with HIV everyday live in the world's most undernourished countries underlining the link between hunger and the disease.
At Malaria No More UK we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone whose lives have been affected and all those working tirelessly to fight this deadly yet preventable epidemic... World Aids Day is a day to spur ourselves on for action and refusal to accept that this is how things will continue to be.
Looking ahead to another World AIDS Day this Sunday - the 26th such occasion since the annual solidarity day was introduced - it seems to me that there is an urgent need to prioritise and involve young people in efforts to tackle the global HIV epidemic, and in particular those from marginalised groups who are most at risk.
We've come a long way in the fight to tackle HIV in developing countries - UK aid is helping to prevent 500,000 new HIV infections by 2015 in women through a range of prevention programmes. But there's still the hurdle of reaching people who are marginalised from the services they need and most at risk of infection.
On World AIDS Day, new research conducted for the Global Monitoring Report 'Youth and Skills: Putting education to work' shows the importance of investing in life skills education in school to ensure children have the confidence and negotiating skills to say no to sex and negotiate condom use.
The latest Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures show there were an estimated 3,010 new diagnoses among gay men in 2011 - the highest annual figure since records began. Nearly a quarter of people with HIV (24%) remain unaware of their infection and the proportion of late diagnoses (indicating people have been infected for over five years) remains worryingly high at 47%.
In the early 1980s, 1,249 haemophiliacs were infected with HIV/AIDS - and only 316 survive today. Tragically, some families were decimated by the loss of several family members who received contaminated NHS treatment, including one family who lost three brothers and a daughter-in-law, all through AIDS. The mother of the three men later died of a heart attack.
If the bill is passed it's likely to lead to even more HIV infections in politically isolated populations, especially among men who have sex with men. They will be prevented from having access to essential public health information, such as how to protect themselves from HIV and how to access life saving treatment and support services that are stigma-free.