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World AIDS Day – Let’s end it

29 November 2018

World AIDS Day takes place on 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with the virus, and to commemorate the lives that have been lost.

HIV and AIDS: not the same thing

There is a difference between HIV and AIDS1,2:

  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that damages immune cells and, over time, incapacitates the immune system.
  • AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) develops after the HIV virus has already weakened the immune system to the point where it can no longer fight off even the most common illnesses.

Transmission

HIV can be transmitted even when no symptoms are present. Infection can occur when coming in contact with infected bodily fluids. Most commonly, HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, and sharing needles, syringes, and other injecting equipment. In some cases, transmission can occur between mother and child during pregnancy, labour, or breastfeeding.3

Prevention

As there is no known cure for HIV or AIDS, preventing infection is critical.

Organising educational sessions and sharing information about HIV can help raise awareness that can subsequently lead to prevention.

Facts about HIV4

  • Everyone is at risk of HIV, not just homosexual men or individuals who have multiple sexual partners.
  • HIV is highly fragile and can't survive outside the body for very long.
  • You can’t contract the virus from touching or kissing.
  • Sweat, tears, and saliva don't contain a high enough concentration of the virus to be infectious.
  • HIV can’t be transmitted through insects.
  • A routine blood test doesn't count as being tested for HIV.

Did You Know?5

  • 66% of those living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Approximately 36.9 million people are living with HIV globally.
  • 25% of people with HIV don't know they're infected.

 





 

Sources:

1. HIV and Aids. Symptoms. NHS website. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/symptoms/. Accessed November 29, 2018.
2. HIV/AIDS. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids/symptoms-causes/.... Accessed November 29, 2018.
3. HIV and Aids. Symptoms. NHS website. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/. Accessed November 29, 2018.
4. National AIDS Trust. FAQS and Myths. http://www.nat.org.uk/we-inform/FAQs-%26-Myths. Accessed November 29, 2018.
5. World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day. https://www.worldaidsday.org/. Accessed November 29, 2018.