World AIDS Day 2021: From how it is caused to risk factors, all you need to know about disease

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV which stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that breaks down certain cells in the immune system

Representational image. PTI

Every year on 1 December, World AIDS Day is marked and observed to raise awareness as well as unite people in the fight against the global health issue of Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) related illness. Along with the illness, people and groups also are fighting against the stigma surrounding the disease.

Furthermore, the aim of this day is to focus on providing support and care to those who are already living with the disease.

What is AIDS and how is it caused?

AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV which stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that breaks down certain cells in the immune system. AIDS is caused by life-threatening HIV which attacks the immune system of the patient and drastically reduces the body’s resistance to other illnesses.

Additionally, this disease serves as the final stage for people who live with HIV. However, with the right medical treatment and timely care, HIV positive patients can continue to live a healthy life.

Below are some of the groups who are most at risk of becoming infected with HIV:

– People having a current or a previous partner who has been diagnosed with HIV

– People share equipment such as syringes or inject drugs

– People with a history of sexually transmitted infections, Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B

– Babies born from a parent who has HIV and has not taken timely treatment for it

– People who have unprotected sex

– People who share sex toys with someone infected with HIV

Theme this year:

The theme for World AIDS Day this year is “End inequalities. End AIDS”. The main objective of this theme is to focus on patients and people who are left behind and not taken care of. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners will also highlight the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.

History and significance:

In August 1988, World AIDS Day was first designated by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter. They wanted to get some impression of control over the pandemic that had claimed the lives of so many people during that time. For the unversed, both Bunn and Netter were public information officers of the WHO for the AIDS Global Program.

Bunn and Netter conveyed and carried the idea for the observation of this day to the Director of the program, Dr Johnathan Mann. Following this, Mann approved the day for 1 December, which still remains significant.

Advancements in medical science have made significant improvements for people living with HIV, especially since the 1990s. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in various parts of the world, HIV prevention, testing and treatment have all taken a blow.

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