December 1st marks World AIDS Day, a day observed to raise awareness around the AIDS pandemic, and to focus a globalized effort on HIV/AIDS prevention and education. World AIDS Day was conceived during the Global Programme on AIDS hosted by the World Health Organization in 1987. It is currently planned and promoted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, over 25 million people have died of AIDS and there are an estimated 33 million people currently living with HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 61,000 young people were estimated to be living with HIV in the U.S. in 2007.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and it is the disease that is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV can be acquired through several different ways, though most commonly it is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact or sharing needles. HIV is only carried through four different bodily fluids: pre-semen/semen, vaginal fluid, blood and breast milk. HIV/AIDS itself does not cause illness, but suppresses the immune system by attacking CD4 cells that are responsible for maintaining immune system response allowing for opportunistic infections to take hold in the body. In the United States, a person is considered to have AIDS when there are less than 200 CD4 cells per microliter of blood. Thanks to new treatments, it now typically takes much longer for HIV to cause AIDS.
Things you can do:
To learn more about World AIDS Day, visit: worldaidsday.org
To learn more about HIV/AIDS visit:
*This blog first ran on November 29, 2011