BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene joined the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and local public health and community partners to recognize World AIDS Day on December 1.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2013 approximately 35 million people worldwide were living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

There were 30,306 adults or adolescents diagnosed and living with HIV in Maryland at that time. Maryland ranks second among U.S. states in estimated adult or adolescent HIV diagnosis, and the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan statistical area has the third-highest estimated HIV diagnosis rate of any major metropolitan area in the nation.

“Maryland’s health department is focused on reaching the goals of the recently updated national HIV/AIDS strategy –- which includes reducing new infections, ensuring access to life-saving treatment and reducing disparities of impact in Maryland,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell.

On Tuesday, a number of events will be held to raise awareness for World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS Educational Candlelight Services remembering the lives of those who have passed will be held at the Washington Monument in Mt. Vernon and at other locations throughout the Baltimore area, from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Everyone can play a role in stopping the spread of HIV and in supporting those who have it,” said Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau Director Jeffrey Hitt. “Get informed about HIV; get tested for HIV; if you have it, get treatment for HIV; and finally, enroll in an insurance plan to get access to critical HIV-prevention and care services.”

Prince George’s Community College and the Prince George’s County Health Department will hold “Getting to Zero – Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation,” noon-2:20 p.m. at the Largo Student Center, Rennie Forum on Tuesday, December 1. It will feature rooms for testing and sexually transmitted infection screenings.

For Information about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment and support services in Maryland, please call 410.767.5227 or visit the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website HERE.