World AIDS Day is observed annually on December 1. This is a chance for people all over the world to come together in the battle against HIV, to support those who are living with HIV, and to remember those who have passed away from an AIDS-related illness.
Even while HIV continues to be a serious public health concern that affects millions of individuals globally, the global HIV response is at risk. Numerous lives are at stake as a result of the recent stagnation in HIV objective progress and resource depletion. HIV became and continues to be a global health epidemic due to several shortcomings, including division, inequality, and contempt for human rights.
World AIDS Day was first designated in August 1988 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, to get some semblance of control over the pandemic that had claimed the lives of so many people. Both James W Bunn and Thomas Netter were public information officers for the AIDS Global Program of the World Health Organisation.
World AIDS Day is significant in fighting the stigma around it and focusing on providing care and support for those already living with it. Like with most major public health issues, the HIV pandemic has only been presented with further challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
HIV prevention, testing, and treatment all took a blow due to the lockdown and the breakdown of essential services during the coronavirus pandemic, which had taken priority, progress against the HIV pandemic has faltered, resources have shrunk and millions of lives are at risk as a result. Hence, World AIDS Day is important because it reminds 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.
HIV AND AIDS TREATMENTS
The medications used to treat this disease are called “antiretroviral” drugs. They block the development of the virus at various stages of its reproductive cycle. The treatment always involves using a combination of several drugs, which improves its effectiveness. Taking all of the medications as prescribed by a doctor is essential to ensure optimal treatment. Antiretroviral drugs help slow virus multiplication and maintain a strong immune system to delay the onset of AIDS as long as possible. There is currently no cure for AIDS.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent contracting HIV. The best way to protect yourself is to take the following precautionary measures to minimize the risks of contamination:
- use a condom during sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral)
- avoid sharing syringes
- when getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the material is new and disposable or sterilized
- use disposable gloves when at risk of direct contact with blood
- for HIV positive women, consider giving birth by caesarian section
- for HIV positive women who are new mothers, consider feeding your baby with formula instead of breastfeeding