World AIDS Day: 1 December 2011

European Medicines Agency (EMA)The European Medicines Agency supports World AIDS Day, which is taking place today Thursday 1 December 2011. World AIDS Day is held each year on 1 December and is an opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. In 2011, the theme is "getting to zero".

The Agency plays a key role in the authorisation of medicines to treat HIV infection and AIDS. Since November 2005, all anti-HIV medicines in the European Union (EU) have had to be authorised centrally at a European level, rather than in each Member State separately.

To date, 29 anti-HIV medicines have been authorised in the EU on the recommendation of the Agency. The Agency has also recommended the authorisation of medicines used to treat infections and cancers in patients with AIDS, and stimulates research into medicines for HIV and AIDS in children.

The Agency has given opinions on three anti-HIV medicines for use exclusively in markets outside the EU. These opinions are given in co-operation with the World Health Organization (WHO) for diseases of major public health interest.

The Agency works closely with organisations representing patients with HIV and AIDS through the European AIDS Treatment Group, a patient-led group advocating for HIV/AIDS treatment and good quality of life. It also interacts with organisations representing healthcare professionals in the field of HIV and AIDS.

The Agency also produces guidance for companies developing medicines for use in people with HIV. This year, it has also released a concept papers on the use of medicines to prevent HIV infection and on the update of guidance on the clinical development of medicines for the treatment of HIV for public consultation.