December 1st is marked as World AIDS Day, and to mark the day, let’s look at this year’s theme, aim and progress so far. The World AIDS Day is observed to extend support for those suffering from this life-threatening condition and to attract global attention to end this epidemic.

Since its emergence in 1988, a lot of improvements have occurred in terms of identification and the treatment of the disease, but many anticipated milestones were left untouched as per WHO’s latest report. Especially the recent Covid-19 Pandemic has perished the progress as it made the life of AIDS patients more challenging.

As experts have suggested, disparity and inaccessibility to healthcare and services for HIV are the main reasons behind the slow down of advancement. Hence for 2021, the theme for World AIDS Day is, ‘End inequalities. End AIDS.’

History and Significance

Even though the history of the Day goes back to 1988, the first appearance of the virus took place in June 1981, when epidemiologists in the US reported 5 deaths due to a rare form of pneumonia with unidentified versions of skin cancer.

Researchers in France and the US detected the virus responsible for the disease and in 1986, it came to be known as Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus, or HIV.

42 years ago, in 1988 the UN declared the 1st of December as World AIDS Day, the first international day related to health, to raise awareness against the fatal Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. The motto was to alert the global leaders and take necessary actions to prevent AIDS. It also looked to remove the stigma and the discrimination that comes with the disease.


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Symptoms

The symptoms of the virus may vary but there are a few things that may convey the initial signal.

Fever, Sore Throat, Skin rashes, Nausea, Body Aches, Headaches, Stomach infection- are among the early signs that one needs to be aware of.

Transmission

The transmission of the virus can take place through various means. However, most of them are under the control of every individual. Being aware of the measures may help in preventing the spread.

  1. Indulging in intercourse without protection is one dominant reason behind the spread of the virus.
  2. Sharing needles, razors or knives with an infected patient may lead to contraction.
  3. The virus can be passed on through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal and vaginal fluid and the milk of an infected lactating woman.

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Treatment

Curing AIDS may not be entirely possible yet, but there are treatments like Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and HIV medicines to reduce the risk of transmission.

The preventing measures for HIV include-

  1. Avoiding unprotected sex
  2. Not sharing any intimate product in an infected individual
  3. Building better immunity

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The Theme for 2021

Even though the world has progressed a lot in terms of tackling HIV, there were still 3.77 million people in the world in 2020, combating this fatal disease.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is ‘End inequalities. End AIDS.’ with a special focus on reaching people left behind.

The aim of ending AIDS by 2030 has been undermined due to “division, disparity and disregard” for basic human rights as per World Health Organisation. This year’s theme is to remind the people in authority to end inequality to remove HIV from the face of the planet.