Today the 1st of December is World AIDS Day. On this day people worldwide unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. It’s an opportunity to create awareness about HIV and make people understand what it is. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
- Acquired means you can get infected with it;
- Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body’s system that fights diseases.
- Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.
AIDS is caused by a virus called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make “antibodies,” special immune molecules the body makes to fight HIV.
Why world Aids Day exist?
It is essential to remind the public and government that HIV has not gone away. There is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. That is why World AIDS Day still exist.
Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.