World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December, every year. It was the first global health day to be declared and observed. The full form of AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and is acquired when someone is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.
This year, the theme for World AIDS Day is “Communities Make the Difference.” Communities can make a difference by being more aware of the disease. Many people are ignorant about HIV, and often confuse it with other viruses like the HPV. Here are some facts about HIV to clear the confusion, and give a better understanding of the disease-causing virus.
1. HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, as the name suggests, affects the immune system of the body. It weakens the immunity of the body, which means that the body is more susceptible to infections and it is difficult for the body to fight germs when they enter the body.
2. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is called AIDS. AIDS occurs when more than 20 opportunistic infections or related cancers occur at the same time.
3. According to the WHO, there are 5 ways of transmission of HIV.
– Unprotected sexual intercourse or oral sex with an infected person
– Transfusion of infected blood or blood products
– Sharing infected/contaminated injecting equipment like needles or tattoo needles
– Use of contaminated surgical instruments
– Transfusion of the virus during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
4. HIV does not spread through touch. Many people are discriminated against because of the myth that living around them, touching or eating with infected people can cause transmission of HIV.
5. Prevention of HIV is the key to stay safe. Here are some ways that can help in the prevention of transmission of the virus
– Get yourself tested for STDs, including HIV regularly
– Avoid injecting drugs, and even when it is done, make sure the needles are new and clean
– Make sure that the blood transfusions are first tested for the virus
– Practice safe sexual intercourse