World Aids Day is observed every year on the 1st of December since 1988. It is an international event organised to support those suffering from AIDS and to raise awareness about pandemic caused by the HIV infection.
Why is this day important?
Globally, there were about 38 million people affected by HIV by the end of 2019. India has the third-largest HIV epidemic in the world, with HIV numbers reaching a total of 2.1 million. It is hence very important to create awareness about HIV AIDS and educate people on ways to stop the spread of this infection.
What is AIDS?
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a chronic condition that is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). AIDS affects the immune system of an individual whichultimately reduces the ability of their body to fight against infections. HIV can be transmitted through contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids. It can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
How can one reduce the risk of AIDS?
The risk of AIDS can be reduced by limiting exposure to certain dangers. Below listed are a
few ways to reduce this risk:
- Get tested for HIV/STIs
- Use condoms
- Speak to healthcare providers about PREP and PEP (Pre- and post-exposure
- Get tested for tuberculosis
What are the symptoms of HIV AIDS?
The symptoms of HIV Aids differ based on the stage of the infection. In some cases, especially during the initial stages, people may experience headache, fever, rash, and a sore throat. As the infection progresses and further weakens the immune system, the individual may start experiencing symptoms like weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, fever, cough, and diarrhoea. If the individual does not get timely treatment, they also face the risk of suffering from severe bacterial infections, tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and certain cancers like Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphoma.
Can AIDS be treated?
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used to treat those who are HIV-positive. Though this medicine cannot completely get rid of the virus, it can reduce the risk of the disease getting transmitted by 96%. ART also helps in strengthening the immune system of an individual. This year, the theme of World Aids Day is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact”. The aim of this day is also to call for support for healthcare workers who have been battling at the frontline against the HIV virus. Spreading awareness about the latest developments and research about HIV AIDS is the only way to make the world a healthier place to live in.