World AIDS Day is an annual commemoration to raise awareness of the global AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) pandemic and the spread of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). The World Health Organization (WHO) founded World AIDS Day on December 1 in 1988 to encourage the flow of information between national and local governments, international organisations, and people.
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 36.3 million lives so far. As a result, AIDS awareness grew more focused on teaching cultures about HIV/AIDS through the unity of worldwide organisations and financial assistance.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a term that applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. Not necessary that every HIV-positive person has got AIDS, but every person with AIDS is HIV-positive.
Transmission of HIV:
We cannot just run away from the fact that HIV and AIDS exist. Statistics say that out of 6 men every 1 man comes out HIV-positive and out of 6 women 2 are tested positive. So, knowing the causes would surely help us prevent its spread.
HIV is found in certain bodily fluids of people living with HIV, including blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids and breastmilk. HIV can be transmitted by:
- unprotected vaginal or anal sex, and, in very rare cases, through oral sex with a person living with HIV;
- blood transfusion of contaminated blood;
- sharing of needles, syringes, other injecting equipment, surgical equipment or other sharp instruments; and
- from a mother living with HIV to her infant during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
How can transmission of HIV be prevented?
Globally, HIV is mainly transmitted through unprotected vaginal and anal sex. Several methods can be used to prevent this from happening. It is recommended that a combination of effective prevention interventions be used, including:
- using male and/or female condoms consistently and correctly;
- for HIV-negative people, taking pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission;
- for people living with HIV, taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce viral load to undetectable levels, meaning they can’t transmit HIV to their sexual partners; and
- being aware of one’s status to promote less risky sexual behaviours.
Sex Education: It is high time to start a routine for sex education classes. Teens are always curious to know about the changes their bodies go through. Eager to know this stuff they look up to shabby internet knowledge, which gives them so many misconceptions. Eventually, sometimes exploring this new change gets chaotic, landing them on problems. So, parents and teachers need to step up and do what is required.
Don’t be Ashamed: Just like other diseases like cancer and tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS is a disease too. If you anyhow end up positive, be open about it and consult an expert ASAP. Notify your sexual partners. It’s critical to inform everyone of your current and previous sexual partners that you have HIV. They’ll need to get tested as well.
You Can’t Get HIV from
1. Hugging & Kissing
In general, a very small amount of HIV is present in the saliva. So less, it does not get transmitted and by hugging there is no chance you are getting positive.
2. Sweat, tears, urine or faeces of someone who has HIV
No cases of HIV spread have ever been reported after a person has come in contact with the sweat, tears, urine, or faeces of an HIV-infected person.
3. Touching an already positive person
4. Insect Bites
Cure for HIV:
No, there is currently no cure for HIV. Science is moving at a fast pace, and there have been two people who have achieved a ‘functional cure’ by undergoing a bone marrow transplant for cancer with re-infusion of new CD4 T cells that are unable to be infected with HIV. However, neither a cure nor a vaccine is available to treat and protect all people currently living with or at risk of HIV. HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
The theme of World AIDS Day 2021:
WHO: End inequalities. End AIDS.
UNAIDS: End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.
As per WHO, globally, 28.2 million people living with HIV were receiving ART in 2021. The global ART coverage rate was 73% [56–88%] in 2020. However, more efforts are needed to scale up treatment, particularly for children and adolescents. Only 54% [37–69%] of children (0–14 years old) were receiving ART at the end of 2020.
It’s always better to follow safe practices, as prevention is better than cure.