is an advanced
stage of an infection caused by the HIV virus. The HIV virus attacks the immune
system and makes the person susceptible to infections and cancers. Treatment
with medications has enabled many individuals to lead a normal life.
Unfortunately, it is not only the disease that individuals infected with HIV
have to deal
with. They are also subjected to discrimination at work as well as at home.
The theme for this year's World AIDS Day
the same as that of the past 2 years, and which will continue for the next two
years: Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero
This theme emphasizes on three aspects: elimination of
new HIV infections and deaths due to AIDS, as well as an end to discrimination
of individuals suffering from HIV.
According to this theme,
the number of new infections
due to HIV should be zero. The 2.3 million new infections last year indicate
that much has to be done to achieve this target. This is possible by adequate
dissemination of information regarding methods to prevent the infection.
Unfortunately, the group belonging to the adolescents and young adults still
appears to be vulnerable to the infection. It is this group that WHO aims to
focus its attention on this year. Around 2.1 million adolescents were reported
to be harboring the HIV virus
Though HIV infection is
most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack of adequate preventive measures will
ensure that the disease spreads rapidly to other regions as well.
can be prevented to a large extent by the availability of adequate treatment.
WHO statistics indicate that 1.6 million people died due to AIDS in 2012.
Though medications cannot cure the infection, they do keep the virus under
check and prevent its multiplication, thus delaying the onset of AIDS and
therefore death due to the condition. These figures thus reveal the
inaccessibility of medications to a vast population.
The discrimination against
HIV would probably decrease once people understand and accept how HIV spreads.
HIV does not only spread by touching or sharing personal objects. It spreads
through vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person. It may also spread
through blood transfusions
sharing of infected needles and from the mother to the baby.
Treatment of HIV
does improve the health of the affected person and reduces the chances of
transmission to others, including from the mother to the baby.
Let us don the red ribbon
on the first of December and do our bit in our fight against this disease.