World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, designated by the United Nations and other global health agencies. Since World AIDS Day was created, there has now been World Malaria Day, World TB Day, and World Pneumonia Day.

World AIDS Day serves as a reminder that an estimated 33.3 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV — more than 90,000 in the UK alone.

Today groups around the world are raising awareness about the virus. Even some of the world’s big name fashion retailers, like Gap and Nike, are raising money for the ongoing fight by releasing special clothing items.

More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

This 23rd annual World AIDS Day coincides with the launch of a new global campaign theme, “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”

People around the world are recognizing World AIDS Day. Here’s our roundup of events around the globe:

The Sydney Opera House was lit in red lighting last night to mark the dawn of World AIDS Day today.

Red ribbons are being sold around the country in major cities today to raise money for local HIV services.

This week the government announced the beginning of a consultation on changing the current restrictions on doctors and dentists with HIV working in the NHS.

It is being argued that those with HIV should be allowed to practice “exposure prone procedures” provided they are taking antiretroviral drugs and being monitored.

Despite more than 25 cases in the last 12 years of a patient being exposed to an HIV-infected doctor, dentist or health worker, there have been no reported transmissions of this kind in Britain.

Around the country, groups are holding AIDS Walks today to raise money for research and prevention, and to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to the virus.

In the House of Commons today, 14 young people will meet members of parliament and tell them what they think the government should do next in fighting against HIV and AIDS.

This is part of a worldwide action happening today, organised by HIV360, where young people are meeting with policy makers to voice their opinions about AIDS treatment and stigma. Other participants include students in Estonia, the USA, Indonesia and South Africa.

In Edinburgh multiple events are being held to raise money for Waverley Care, Scotland’s leading charity providing care and support to those living with HIV.

The island’s LGBT group will hold a vigil tonight on the marina, marked by the release of red sky lanterns. Red ribbons, the symbol of World AIDS Day, are on sale throughout the island to raise funds for AIDS research, support and prevention.

Latest figures launched today in honour of World AIDS Day showed gay men continue to be the most likely group to acquire the infection in Ireland.

Sixty gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in the first six months of the year.

Tiernan Brady, of Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said there is a growing risk for the younger generation of gay and bisexual men.

“For the first six months of this year, young men under 30 accounted for 37% of all cases,” he said.

“This shows the importance of the upcoming HIV prevention campaign by the Gay Health Network targeting young gay and bisexual men.”

A South African film on AIDS debuts today in commeorating of World AIDS Day. The cast are Kenyan, Nigerian and South African which producers hope will help the movie travel through those countries in the continent hardest hit by the disease.

The film mixes live action and animation to go inside a soccer player’s body, showing how he becomes infected with HIV and spread the virus.

Harriet Gavshon, a producer of the film, said the “toxic combination” or death and sex still make AIDS a difficult subject for many people to talk about.

“You have to constantly find new ways of trying to talk about it,” she said.

The 90-minute film, “Inside Story: The Science of HIV/AIDS”, will be premiered tonight at a Johannesburg multiplex, and will debut in the S and Nigeria in early 2012.

Health officials in New York City have announced today that they are recommending any person living with HIV be offered AIDS drugs as soon as they are diagnosed with the virus.

Standard practice until now has been to have patients put off the expensive pill regimen — which can cost up to $15,000 a year in the United States — until the immune system becomes verifiably weakened.

More than 110,000 people in New York City are infected with HIV, more than any other US city.

San Francisco, which has more than 18,000 people living with HIV, made a similar drug regimen recommendation last year.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said recent studies have shown the benefits of early treatment in countering the AIDS epidemic.