(CBS) — Many discussions in the medical community are centering around AIDS and HIV with World AIDS Day on Monday.

By the end of 2013, AIDS had killed 36 million people, and another 35.3 million are living with HIV now, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.

Jacob Simmons a missionary at Armitage Baptist Church on N. Kedzie just returned from S. Africa. He was part of a special ceremony in Chicago to honor AIDS victims.

“I want to educate and remind people how big of a problem it still is and find a way that we can help,” he said.

Simmons says AIDS isn’t just a problem in Africa. Illinois is ranked sixth among states for new HIV infections. He says there were 1,600 new cases diagnosed in Cook County in 2012.