World AIDS Day, celebrated on 1 December every year is an opportunity for the community to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is to show support for those who have been diagnosed and to remember those who have been lost to the disease.
World AIDS Day is not just about raising awareness of global HIV/AIDS statistics. It’s about teaching the public the truth about the virus, how its spread, its symptoms, and treatments. The Day is also a solid reminder that we still need to fight the stigmas attached to an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Here are some important things you should remember on World AIDS Day.
Some Important Things You Should Remember on World AIDS Day
The first World Aids Day was held on 1 December 1988, conceived by the Global Programme on Aids initiative. It is to highlight the disease and its effects on the world. It was also held to remove the stigma from the disease and halt false rumors about how Aids was contracted. The day is also used to call for more action from governments, the medical science community, and the private sector to develop and distribute affordable treatments.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus that attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, allowing infections to develop. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is an advanced stage of infection with the HIV or you can say it is a condition or a syndrome. So yes there is a difference, HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, So you can have HIV without developing AIDS, and also many people live for many years with HIV without ever developing AIDS. But if you have AIDS, you have to have HIV.
Yes, the number of HIV/AIDS cases have gone down dramatically since it first came onto the scene in the 80’s, but we are not done with HIV/AIDS. We have made it possible to live long, healthy lives with antiretroviral treatments, but HIV is still spreading and these treatments are not available to everyone. HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed over 35 million lives. In 2016, 1 million people died from HIV-related causes globally.
Yes, it’s true there is a big myth among youngsters that HIV is caused by casual contact such as Hand Shaking, Eating with the affected person, Sneezing or Coughing, Sharing food, using public toilets, bites from mosquitoes, Kissing, Hugging. But the fact is HIV never gets transmitted from one person to another by the above methods it is only spread through unprotected sex, shared/reused needles, or tattoos created with unsterilized equipment or any method by which there is a mixing of blood between two bodies.
The simplest way to show your support for Worlds AIDS Day is to wear the red ribbon. It is a symbolizing solidarity with the HIV/AIDS awareness cause. UNAIDS.org also has images and graphs that you can download and post to social media in order to tell your followers. Don’t be afraid to inquire about how your community is celebrating World AIDS Day and what you can do to help those efforts! Remember, any way you can spread knowledge about the virus is the best way to show your support.