There are currently 1.2 million fighting the disease in the United States alone.
VIDEO: UCSF given $20 million grant to find cure for AIDS
The virus that causes AIDS was identified less than 35 years ago but has left a lasting impact on hundreds of millions of people.
In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control published the first known report on AIDS. The human race has come so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS but still has much further to go.
Dr. Larry Corey, a virologist and investigator at the nonprofit HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN),said many people think of the HIV epidemic as less of an issue due to new drugs that are better able at controlling the disease.
However, he said the disease is still deadly and according to the CDC it has killed 13,712 in 2012, the most recent year the data was available.
Of the 1.2 million people in the United States with HIV, approximately 12 percent do not know they're infected.
ABC7 News contributed to this story.