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World AIDS Day 2009: State of the epidemic

See images of the disease’s global impact, including an orphaned girl in West Papua, some famous faces fighting the disease and advocates marching for change in Taiwan.

Hundreds of sex workers, lesbians, homosexuals, transgenders and HIV-positive people marched in the streets of Lima, Peru, to raise awareness and fight for their rights following the V Latin American and Caribbean Forum on HIV/AIDS, which took place in the city from Nov. 21-23.

Janine Costa / X01495

A boy gazes through a window during a nap session at the Mai Hoa orphanage in An Nhon Tay, Vietnam. The HIV-infected children at the orphanage had hoped to attend a local school but were prevented from doing so by fearful parents of the school’s pupils.

Justin Mott / NYTNS

Singer Elton John arrives at "An Enduring Vision," a benefit dinner for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York.

Lucas Jackson / X90066

Girls as young as 12 are working in a prostitution ring to survive in the slums of Lagos, Ligeria. They do not use any protection, so most of the girls are infected with HIV. They work for pimps who provide protection to them.

Ton Koene / Ton Koene

A Thai technician displays blood samples from an AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in a freezer at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences lab in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's health authorities announced the first effective trial of an HIV/AIDS vaccine on some 16,000 volunteers, although the efficacy rate -- 31.2 percent -- was not sufficient for use.

Narong Sangnak / EPA

An AIDS patient rests at the Wat Phrabatnampo AIDS hospice in Lopburi province in Thailand. Scientists and government leaders have already started mapping out how to try to improve the world's first successful AIDS vaccine, which protected one in three people from getting HIV in a large study in Thailand.

Sakchai Lalit / AP

French industrialist and patron Pierre Berge applauds bidders at the end of the last day of the second auction of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge Collection, in Paris. Proceeds of the sale benefited HIV research and the fight against AIDS.

Yoan Valat / EPA

Alex Freyre, right, and Jose Maria Di Bello kiss after applying to marry at the civil registry in Buenos Aires. A judge declared unconstitutional a law that bans same sex marriage and authorized the marriage between Freyre and Di Bello for Dec. 1. The couple are both are HIV positive and wear the red sashes to promote AIDS awareness.

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

Kenyans take part in a parade dubbed "Yes We Can" as part of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria conference in Nairobi. Participants called on U.S. President Barack Obama and other donor agencies to continue funding the treatment of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Thomas Mukoya / X01719

Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White, watches President Barack Obama sign the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers look on, in Washington, D.C. Ryan White was an American teenager who became infected with HIV from contaminated blood treatment and was expelled from school because of his illness. Ryan White died in 1990.

Michael Reynolds / EPA

Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy, a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients, including those with AIDS, in Los Angeles.

David Mcnew / Getty Images North America

A young woman hands over condoms in Yopougon, a working district of the capital city Abidjan, as part of an AIDS prevention program for 5 million people in five West African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

Sia Kambou / AFP

A crowd rejoices as the sun bursts through dark thunder clouds during a heavy rain storm moments after Pope Benedict XVI arrived at the basilica to celebrate Vespers in Cameroon's capital Yaounde. The Vatican defended Pope Benedict's opposition to the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS as activists, doctors and politicians criticised it as unrealistic, unscientific and dangerous.

Finbarr O'reilly / X90055

Officers monitor condom usage by collecting wrappers used by sex workers in a brothel in Merauke, West Papua near Jayapura, Indonesia. HIV and AIDS incidence is on the rise in West Papua with over 5,000 current known suffers and more than 300 people dying from the disease each year. Prostitution, drug abuse and mother-to-child transmission are the greatest causes of the increase.

Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images AsiaPac

Singer Janet Jackson poses with Canadian designers Dean Caten and his brother Dan at the American Foundation for AIDS Research gala in Milan.

Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

A peer educator from the Reproductive Health Research Unit gives out condoms and leaflets as he talks to a man in a bar near Johannesburg, South Africa, to point out the importance of safe sex to help prevent the spread of HIV. The image of a hard-drinking, fearless seducer still holds powerful appeal for many South African men, posing a major problem to stopping AIDS in a country where 5.7 million of the 48 million population have HIV.

Stephane De Sakutin / AFP

A young patient waits to be tested for tuberculosis and HIV in a waiting room at Nhlangano Health Center. Patients go to the center in Swaziland's southern Shiselweni region to treat the killer twin epidemic of AIDS and TB. The Nhlangano Health center treats around 60 TB patients every day.

Stephane De Sakutin / AFP

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu attends the launch of his new HIV mobile clinic, the Tutu Tester, at Milnerton in Cape Town, South Africa. The Tutu Tester provides diabetes and HIV testing as well as counseling.

Gallo Images / Getty Images Europe

Participants wearing masks join in the Taiwan Gay Pride Parade in Taipei, Taiwan. Around 25,000 Taiwanese gathered with people from countries including Malaysia, Korea and Japan for the annual gay pride parade, which is in its seventh year, according to organizers. The Chinese characters read, "Embrace (HIV-)infected people." and "Gays want marriages."

Pichi Chuang / X02348

Safira has been HIV-positive since birth. Her parents both died of AIDS in Merauke, West Papua, near Jayapura, Indonesia.

Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images AsiaPac

Nathalie Cartier of Inserm-University Paris Descartes works in her research laboratory at the university. Scientists have managed to halt a rare and fatal brain disease with an experimental gene therapy technique using a deactivated version of the AIDS virus.

Benoit Tessier / X02011

A nurse wears a face mask outside a Swaziland voluntary counseling and testing center as patients recently diagnosed with tuberculosis and HIV wait for treatment. According to the international medical aid organisation Doctors Without Borders, 80 percent of TB patients in Swaziland also have HIV, placing severe pressure on the small kingdom's public health system.

Stephane De Sakutin / AFP

Actor and AIDS advocate Blair Underwood speaks during the grand opening of AIDS Healthcare Foundation's first AIDS treatment center in Washington, D.C., where the HIV rate is now reported to be 3 percent higher than the rate in Lagos, Nigeria. The Blair Underwood Clinic will be run by AHF, the largest U.S. non-profit HIV/AIDS health care provider, which provides medical care and services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide.

Tim Sloan / AFP

Boxes of ashes with names displayed are stored before being claimed by their relatives at a shrine at the AIDS hospice on the grounds of the Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu Buddhist temple in Lopburi.

Nicolas Asfouri / FILES AFP