Corresponding with World AIDS Day 2006, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has launched the AIDS.gov Web site to help increase awareness of this devastating disease. According to the HHS "since 1981, over 20 million people worldwide have died of AIDS, and an estimated 40 million people are living with HIV."

The Web site's goal is to ease access to resources, testing and provide vital information. "We at HHS encourage users to learn about prevention, testing, treatment, and research programs, and to find federal HIV/AIDS policies and resources," said Secretary Mike Leavitt in a statement released today.

The site includes sections on basic HIV/AIDS information, news and events, treatment research and advocacy agencies and programs, as well as a section dispelling myths about the disease.

"World AIDS Day is a time for reflection and renewal," the Leavitt said. "Let us mark it by acknowledging the work of all the worldwide partners in this battle and how, combined, we can strive to defeat HIV/AIDS."

Gina M. Scott  |  Writer