World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1 December every year to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. This is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
World AIDS day is also an opportunity to disseminate information about the status of the pandemic, highlight progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world.
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
On this years’ World AIDS Day, Durgapuradda, the news website of Durgapur takes this opportunity to highlight some of the known and unknown facts on AIDS to strengthen the fight against this killer disease that has already an estimated 36 million people worldwide.
- HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infects cells of the immune system and breaks body’s ability to fight infections or disease, thus causing AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
- HIV can be transmitted through: (a) unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) or oral sex with an infected person, (b) transfusions of contaminated blood, (c) the sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other sharp instruments, (d) the transmission between a mother and her baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
- Key ways to prevent HIV transmission are: (a) practice safe sexual behaviors such as using condoms; (b) avoid injecting drugs, or if you do, always use new and disposable needles and syringes; (c) ensure that any blood or blood products that you might need are tested for HIV, (d) before breast feeding always ensure that the mother does not have AIDS.
- As a result of recent advances in access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), HIV-positive people now live longer and healthier lives. In addition, it has been confirmed that ART prevents onward transmission of HIV.
- In a 30-year quest for a vaccine that’s been marked by failure and frustration, the recently concluded International AIDS Vaccine Conference at Barcelona in first week of October this year (2103) have provided some ray of hope in creating a vaccine for this deadly killer virus. Experimental vaccine “cleared” HIV in monkeys infected with the virus. In layman’s terms, cleared is as good as cured. Moreover the 2009’s RV144 trial in Thailand has confirmed that an HIV vaccine reduced the risk of infection in people.