World AIDS Day 2015
November 30, 2015
Every year, December 1st marks World AIDS Day. On this day, we remember those who have lost their lives fighting HIV/AIDS and we help raise awareness. AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome is caused by HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, which greatly weakens a person’s immune system and the ability to fight off infection. HIV can be spread through an infected person’s semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk.
Since 2011, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) strategy has been “Getting to Zero,” with a focus on reducing new HIV infections, AIDS-related deaths and discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. There is currently no cure for AIDS, but many advances in medical treatment have been made since the first cases were reported in 1981. People with HIV or AIDS can now get treatment and live a near-normal lifespan if HIV is detected early.
Even though we have made a lot of progress, the fight against AIDS is not over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are still 50,000 new HIV cases in the United States every year and over 12 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they’re infected.
Wondering how you can help in the fight against AIDS?
First, talk about HIV/AIDS with your partner, friends and family. This will help raise general awareness of the disease. Second, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if you are or have been sexually active. Local HIV testing clinics will often provide free services and helpful information. Third, make sure to always practice safer sex by using condoms and dental dams during vaginal, oral or anal sex. This will help prevent the further spread of STDs, including HIV.
Hopefully, if we are all aware of HIV and how it’s spread, we will be able to eliminate the virus and truly reduce the number of new HIV infections to zero.
For more information on World AIDS Day and how to prevent HIV/AIDS, check out AIDS.gov.