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World AIDS Day: Here's All You Need to Know About HIV and AIDS

As per the official website, 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.

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Updated:December 1, 2019, 10:17 AM IST
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World AIDS Day: Here's All You Need to Know About HIV and AIDS
World Aids Day is observed on December 1 | Representative Image | Credit: Reuters

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year to raise awareness about the incurable AIDS caused by the spread of HIV infection. World AIDS Day, which was first observed in 1988, was the first among the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, approximately 37.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2018. Of these, only 79% received testing, 62% received treatment and 53% were able to suppress HIV with no risk of infecting others. In June 2019, 24.5 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy in an attempt to control HIV infection.

What is HIV and how is it different from AIDS?

Putting in the simplest terms, AIDS is a disease and HIV is the virus which causes it. HIV or human immunodeficiency virus targets the immune system and weakens people's defense systems against infections. Victims lose their inbuilt ability to fight disease though immune system and highly rely on medicines.

It is not necessary that a person who is HIV positive is AIDS positive as well. When HIV infection reaches the highest or most advanced stage due to no treatment, it is called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.

As per the official website, 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. So this World AIDS day, let’s pledge to spread as much awareness about HIV as possible and make efforts to reduce the menace of this deadly infection.

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