World AIDS Day is celebrated on 1st December every year worldwide. The main purpose is to raise awareness about AIDS caused by the spread of HIV infection and to mourn for those who have died of the disease. It is known to be one of the eight official global public health campaigns run by the World Health Organization.
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus that leads to HIV infection. AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. AIDS occurs when HIV is left untreated for long period of time; HIV damages the immune system and advances to AIDS. This is one lethal disease so it was necessary that people were aware about it; hence came up the idea of dedicating a day to recognize it as World AIDS Day.
The idea to celebrate World AIDS Day was first proposed by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Program on AIDS. This proposal was presented out in public in August 1987 at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
And, December 1st 1988 was declared as World AIDS Day. And since 1988, all the campaigns on World AIDS Day focus on a specific theme. The theme is chosen every year by consultations with UNAIDS, WHO and a large number of grassroots, national and international agencies which are involved in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
In its first two years, the theme of World AIDS Day focused only on children and young people. These themes were criticized at the time for ignoring the fact that people of all ages may become infected with HIV, but at the same time it helped alleviate some of the stigma surrounding the disease. It helped people not to treat it as a taboo and they were able to discuss about it in open. Each year’s theme since 2008 is chosen by the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign (WAC). Although for each World AIDS Day from 2005 to 2010, the theme was “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”. Idea was to encourage political leaders to keep their promise of achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by the year 2010.
As of this year, on 1st December 2018, WHO is joining global partners to commemorate World AIDS Day under the theme “Know Your Status.” This will also be an occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
This year, World AIDS Day 2018 aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Convince people to know about their HIV infection status through testing, and to access HIV prevention, treatment and care services.
- Insist policy-makers to promote a “health for all” agenda for HIV and related health issues, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and other non-communicable diseases.
Below are some posters of how promotions of the event are going on, on social media:
HIV AIDS is not 100% curable but a person can live a long healthy life by going on a strict medication and proper treatment. With Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) HIV can be managed properly and their life expectancy can be nearly the same as someone who has not had HIV. In a day to day conversation, when you are busy discussing Kardashians or big boss, today also teach someone about HIV and AIDS. Make them aware about it. You all must have heard the phrase “Ignorance is bliss” but when it comes to HIV & AIDS or any other disease for that matter, IGNORANCE CAN KILL YOU.