World AIDS Day: When, why, & what?

World AIDS Day is an international celebration day which is celebrated on 1st December every year to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic and mourn those who lost their lives due to the disease.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people’s defense against many infections and some types of cancer which people with healthy immune systems can fight off.

Since the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, the infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. 

AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. It can take many years to develop if not treated, depending upon the individual.

AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections or other severe long-term clinical manifestations.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 chosen by WHO  is “End inequalities, End AIDS”. WHO wants to focus on reaching the underprivileged or left behind people in helping them access HIV services.

According to WHO, “Division, disparity and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis. Now, COVID-19 is exacerbating inequities and disruptions to services, making the lives of many people living with HIV more challenging.” 

The most important aspect is that AIDS can’t be cured, but infected HIV patients can still get some treatment and revive themselves.

HIV still continues to be a major global public health issue, as it has claimed over 36 million lives so far. There were approximately 37.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2020 as per the statistics.

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