The world has seen a number of AIDS days come and go by with the first ever World AIDS day coined in 1988. From the day it was started, a number of campaigns and even have been organized to spread awareness amongst the people. The theme for World AIDS Day this year is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation."
The credit for conceptualizing a day wholly for AIDS and its awareness goes to two public information officers for the Global Program on AIDS at the World Health Organization, James Bunn and Thomas Netter. Dr Jonathan Mann, the former head of the Global Program on Aids (known now as UNAIDS) approved the idea.
In 2013, 35 million people were living with HIV, 2.1 million people were newly infected with the virus and some 1.5 million people died of AIDS according to UN data. HIV/AIDS is one of the worst pandemics of the world; by far the greatest part of the HIV/AIDS burden is in sub-Saharan Africa. The World AIDS day plays a major role in creating awareness and drawing attention to the current status of the disease.
So far a lot of people have been educated on AIDS and its prevention. The LGBT community, commercial sex workers etc are the groups that have been targeted the most by HIV and the number of infections has reduced due to the tireless campaigns and awareness programs of the officials. According to a leading campaign group working against HIV, the world has finally reached "the beginning of the end" of the AIDS pandemic that has infected and killed millions in the past 30 years. The number of people getting infected with HIV last year was significantly lesser than the number of HIV-positive people.
Still a long way to go
Even though it seems as if the end of AIDS is nearing, officials belonging to Anti-AIDS organizations warn that reaching this milestone does not mean the end of AIDS was around the corner. Just the tipping point has been passed at the global level. There are many countries that are just joining the fight against AIDS.
Social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, the average person being scared of sharing a drink with a HIV infected person etc, shows that people need to become a lot more aware of the disease. Hence, the importance of World AIDS day is to pledge to ourselves that we will be more humane to the HIV infected people and donate as much as we can to the cause.