1 December 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Around 36.7 million people around the world are identified with this life-risking virus. Despite the virus being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have succumbed to it, making it one of the most destructive diseases in history. World AIDS Day is vital because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a need to prevent people from this dangerous virus.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome which is caused by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). When the immune system of the human body becomes too weak to fight against the injections, the HIV affects the T-helper cells which we call white blood cells otherwise. Then, they start making copies of their cells inside the blood. A person infected by HIV finds it hard to fight against infections and diseases. There are three main stages of HIV infection: acute infection, clinical latency, and AIDS and it is transmitted by three major routes: sexual contact, exposure to infected body fluids or tissues, and from a mother to her child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding which is known as vertical feeding. However, there is no risk of acquiring it through exposure to feces, nasal secretions, saliva, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit unless these are contaminated with blood.
Nowadays, with scientific successes, more than 6000 people in the UK are treated every year. However, people are still unaware of the ways to protect it and there still exists a stigma in the society for people living with the condition. Since 1988, there has been a significant change in the AIDS response and millions of people infected with HIV are leading healthy and productive lives. But we still have miles to go and a major challenge is the knowledge of HIV status. Many barriers to HIV testing still exist and as estimated, more than 9.4 million people hesitate from getting the test done. Stigma and discrimination deter people from taking the test. Most people get tested only after becoming ill and symptomatic which leads to HIV treatment being initiated late and undermines its many benefits for both treatment and prevention. At the same time, there are ample opportunities to expand access to HIV testing.
The need of the hour is to expand test programmes which means that sufficient knowledge must be imparted to the masses. For this, we require political will and investment, along with novel and innovative approaches to HIV testing that are fully leveraged and taken to scale. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. The best way to observe this day is by creating an awareness among the people about AIDS and HIV which could be done by conducting programs or through social media. It is important that people understand the dangers of HIV. The best way to celebrate the Aids Day is by creating an awareness to the people about AIDS and HIV. The awareness can be created by conducting programs, by social media, etc. You can wear the Red Ribbon on AIDS day to spread awareness to the people, and you can give to your friends, Co-workers, and families. It’s vital that everyone understands the dangers of AIDS/HIV. People living with this need a lot of love and affection and by means should they be discriminated. Let’s all fight with AIDS, not people with AIDS.
Support AIDS awareness – World Aids Day!