World AIDS Day is
observed on December 1 each year to spread the awareness about the AIDS
pandemic. It is a unique opportunity for people across the globe to unite in
the fight against AIDS and show their support for people living with the deadly
disease as well as to commemorate people who have died.
AIDS is a plague - numerically,
statistically and by any definition known to human mankind. The basic purpose of World AIDS Day is to
encourage every individual to be aware of HIV; to understand how to reduce the
transmission of HIV
safe sex practices; and to make sure that people suffering from it are free
from any discrimination and can live a normal life within the community.
is a specific theme for the World AIDS Day campaign; each year's theme is
chosen by the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign.The
theme for World AIDS Day 2014 is "Getting to Zero - "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An
". Zero New
HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths. The themes are not just used for a single
day throughout the year across many countries to highlight HIV/AIDS
awareness within the
context of other major global events.
It is estimated that globally a whopping 34
million people suffer HIV infection. As high as 25 million people have died
from this deadly AIDS virus between 1981 and 2007, making it one of the most
destructive pandemics in history. Celebrating World AIDS Day reminds the public
and Government that HIV is still very much prevalent and that there is an
immediate need to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
There is an unending effort to
end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by educating people on HIV prevention, providing
treatment and support services. The campaign also strives to empower and enable
all HIV positive people
across the world, to
access the vital services they need.
HIV vs. AIDS
AIDS is different from HIV; a person who is HIV
positive does not necessarily have AIDS, but all people with AIDS are HIV
positive. Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is a virus that causes Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS.
AIDS could occur after many years of damage to
your body's immune system caused by HIV. You become vulnerable to disease and
infection due to lowering of your immunity. Some people who have been infected
with HIV have flu like symptoms but others remain asymptomatic for many years.
In the advanced phase of HIV infection, you may
develop a number of 'AIDS-defining illnesses' which could be very debilitating
and possibly lead to death.
Precautionary Measures against AIDS
The first step is to increase your knowledge about
HIV. By being informed
about how HIV is transmitted and how to protect ourselves and others, you could
enjoy life and prevent the spread of HIV:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a single uninfected
partner or you could abstain from sex.
the number of your sex partners. Fewer partners could potentially reduce
your risk of HIV infection.
engaging in sexual activity, latex condoms are proven to be highly
effective at preventing transmission of HIV or any other sexually
- Do not use natural or lambskin condoms as they do
not provide sufficient protection against HIV infection.
you happen to use/ inject drugs, adhere to safe practises. Do not share
your doctor immediately if you are HIV positive and find out that you are
pregnant. Your doctor will prescribe medications to reduce your baby's
risk of being infected with HIV.
you are a HIV positive mother, you should abstain from breastfeeding your
child since this infection could be transmitted from mother to child via
breast milk. Recommendations vary with countries. In developing countries
like India, the recommendation is to adhere to exclusive breastfeeding.
Ask your doctor to provide alternatives to nursing your baby.
sure you get tested on a regular basis to know your HIV status. It is
recommended that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested
for HIV at least once.
- If the test is negative, then your doctor will
counsel you how to remain that way. However if the test is positive, then
it is imperative to start treatment and know the methods to prevent the
spread of HIV.
the WHO recommendation of standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) therapy
for treatment. It consists of a combination of atleast three
antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop
the progression of HIV disease.
in HIV risk reduction programs on a regular basis which will help you make
healthy decisions, such as negotiating condom use or discussing HIV
status. Talk to your health care provider who could refer you to such
programs in your area.
Sometimes in life there is that moment when it is
possible to make a change for the better. Since we cannot afford any more
waiting periods, this is the time to stand up and make difference. On this
World AIDS Day on December 1, wear the red ribbon which is the global symbol
for solidarity with HIV-positive people as well as for people living with AIDS,
to show your support. Make life as normal as possible for the AIDS patient - give
them the community free from stigma and discrimination and they will be
thankful to you forever!