World AIDS Day 2021; Know the theme, symptoms, treatments of HIV

Every year, December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day across the world. Designated in 1988, the international day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. This year “End inequalities. End AIDS” is the theme of World AIDS Day. 

AIDS-acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A person who has the condition is susceptible to multiple organ failure and overwhelming infections. When taken the case of infections, HIV has claimed the lives of 36.3 million individuals as of July 17, 2021. According to WHO,  In 2020, 680000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million people acquired HIV. These statistics, provided by the World Health Organization, suggest that HIV / AIDS is one of the most serious public health challenges globally.

The HIV virus attacks the immune system of the patient and reduces its resistance to other ‘diseases’. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control. 

How does a person gets affected by AIDS

  1. Possible ways of getting AIDS are through body fluids from infected people, such as blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions.
  1. Unprotected sex with an infected person can also spread the deadly disease to another person. 
  1. It can be contracted from a pregnant mother to the child.
  1. Sharing injection needles, razor blades, knives among other things with an infected person can also be a reason for the contraction of the disease.

Symptoms

Most people do not show earlier symptoms. The symptoms differ from person to person. Though people living with HIV are most infectious in the first few months following infection, many do not realize they are infected until later.

Fever, Headache, Fatigue, Swollen lymph glands, Rash, Sore throat, Muscle/joint pain, Night sweats, Diarrhea are some of the earlier symptoms. 

Treatment

HIV attacks the immune system, weakening the body’s defenses against infections and various cancers that individuals with healthy immune systems can resist. Diagnosis is the first step to identifying the presence of HIV in your body. The treatments include antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV medicines to reduce the risk of transmission. 

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As a preventive measure, one can take necessary steps such as using protection during sexual intercourse, avoiding sharing needles, blades, etc with other people, and building good body immunity.