World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is one of the eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), World AIDS Day is recognized on the 1st of December every year since 1988, which is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.

Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people living with HIV. Since its discovery in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV/AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in human history. The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV virus attacks the immune system of the patient and reduces its resistance to other ‘diseases’.

World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. On this international day, the White House began marking World AIDS Day with the iconic display of a 28-foot (8.5 m) AIDS Ribbon on the building’s North Portico in 2007. White House aide Steven M. Levine, then serving in President George W. Bush’s administration, proposed the display to symbolize the United States’ commitment to combat the world AIDS epidemic through its landmark PEPFAR program. The White House display, now an annual tradition across four presidential administrations, quickly garnered attention, as it was the banner, sign, or symbol to prominently hang from the White House since the Abraham Lincoln administration.

To mark this special day, people need to be aware of the risks and methods to overcome this contagious disease which can infect anyone who makes contact with it. So, precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of getting HIV. They should:

  1.  Get tested for HIV. Talk to your partner about HIV testing and get tested before you have sex.
  1.  Choose less risky sexual behaviours. HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex without a condom or without taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV.
  1.  Use condoms every time you have sex. Read this fact sheet from CDC on how to use condoms correctly.
  1.  Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to have a partner with poorly controlled HIV or to have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

As of 2020, AIDS has killed 36.3 million between [27.2 million and 47.8 million] people worldwide, and an estimated 37.7 million people are living with HIV,making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.

“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug : Heaven knows they need it.”

Written by : Rtr. Taalib Asaf

Thumbnail Designed by : Hasmithan Kumararaja

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