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World AIDS Vaccine Day 2021: History, Theme and Significance

(Representative pic: Shutterstock)

(Representative pic: Shutterstock)

It was in 1998, May 18 that the world witnessed the observance of the first World AIDS Vaccine Day. The theme for this year is ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’

May 18 is observed as World AIDS Vaccine Day, every year, globally. The day is also addressed as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, an initiative that is directed towards raising awareness regarding the requirement of HIV vaccines to prevent the HIV infection and AIDS.

The endeavor serves two-fold purposes. One, it predominantly attempts to honour those healthcare workers, scientists, and volunteers/supporters who have dedicated their lives in the effort to bring an effective and safe AIDS vaccine. And the other focuses on the importance of the vaccine- a shield to protect from the life-threatening virus.

Through this wonderful venture headed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), people are informed that HIV can be prevented and that each one of us has a crucial role to play in the prevention process, and must share the global responsibility.

History and Significance of World AIDS Vaccine Day

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It was in 1998, May 18 that the world witnessed the observance of the first World AIDS Vaccine Day. The concept of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day stemmed from a commencement speech delivered by the former US President Bill Clinton at Morgan State University in 1997 (May 18). He had cited the absolute necessity of the vaccine to contain and eradicate the fatal disease. Clinton had emphasized putting science, technology to optimum use and generating a vaccine that would boost individual’s ability to fight HIV; and thus protect the world from the deadly clutches of AIDS.

Since then, World AIDS Vaccine Day is celebrated all across the globe by various organizations to reiterate and remind people about the preventive measures, and spread education about AIDS, encourage researchers; and ensure common man’s complete participation in this noble drive.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus which attacks the body’s immunity. It can be contracted through sharing of needles, blood, unprotected sex; or can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy. Symptoms of flu, fever, sore throat and fatigue mark the infection’s outbreak within a few weeks.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the next stage to which the virus progresses.

Anti-retroviral Therapies (ARTs) are known to hinder the development of the disease but no permanent cure has been discovered yet.

So the creation of a HIV Vaccine could serve as a preventive measure among people who do not have HIV. The efforts are aimed at expediting the vaccine creation.

Theme of World AIDS Vaccine Day

In keeping with the goal of World AIDS Vaccine Day, every year a particular theme is chosen as part of its awareness campaign. World AIDS Vaccine Day theme this year is ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’.

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first published:May 18, 2021, 08:23 IST