World AIDS Day is observed on 1st December every year all over the world to spread awareness about the disease and remember all those who lost their lives to it.
- It was founded in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was the first ever global health day with a motto of raising public awareness about Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
- AIDS is a pandemic disease caused by the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which damages the human immune system.
- There were an estimated 37.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2020, over two thirds of whom (25.4 million) are in the African Region.
- In 2020, 680 000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million people acquired HIV.
- Theme for 2021: ‘End inequalities. End AIDS’.
- With a special focus on reaching people left behind,WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.
- WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally to confront the inequalities that drive AIDS and to reach people who are currently not receiving essential HIV services.
- The very day reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away and there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
- It is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- HIV attacks CD4, a type of White Blood Cell (T cells) in the body’s immune system. T cells are those cells that move around the body detecting anomalies and infections in cells.
- After entering the body, HIV multiplies itself and destroys CD4 cells, thus severely damaging the human immune system. Once this virus enters the body, it can never be removed.
- The CD4 count of a person infected with HIV reduces significantly. In a healthy body, CD4 count is between 500- 1600, but in an infected body, it can go as low as 200.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT