[h=2]What is World AIDS Day?[/h]
World AIDS Day is a day dedicated to commemorate those who have passed on and to raise awareness about AIDS and the global spread of the HIV virus.
The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988 after health ministers from around the world met in London, England and agreed to such a day as a way of highlighting the enormity of the AIDS pandemic and nations’ responsibility to ensure universal treatment, care and support for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Led by the World AIDS Campaign organization, the theme for World AIDS Day 2014 is ”Getting to zero.” Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.
According to the The Gap Report from UNAIDS, 1.5 million people worldwide died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2013.
By the end of 2013, an estimated 35 million people around the world were living with HIV.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
Acquired means you can get infected with it;
Immune Deficiency means a weakness in the body's system that fights diseases.
Syndrome means a group of health problems that make up a disease.
AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If you get infected with HIV, your body will try to fight the infection. It will make "antibodies," special molecules to fight HIV.
Tests for HIV look for these antibodies in your blood or mouth lining. If you have them in your blood, it means that you have HIV infection. People who have the HIV antibodies are called "HIV-Positive
You don't actually "get" AIDS. You might get infected with HIV, and later you might develop AIDS.
You can get infected with HIV from anyone who's infected, even if they don't look sick and even if they haven't tested HIV-positive yet. The blood, vaginal fluid, semen, and breast milk of people infected with HIV has enough of the virus in it to infect other people. Most people get the HIV virus by:
having sex with an infected person
sharing a needle (shooting drugs) with someone who's infected
being born when their mother is infected, or drinking the breast milk of an infected woman
Getting a transfusion of infected blood used to be a way people got AIDS, but now the blood supply is screened very carefully and the risk is extremely low.
There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted by tears or saliva, but it is possible to be infected with HIV through oral sex or in rare cases through deep kissing, especially if you have open sores in your mouth or bleeding gums
You might not know if you are infected by HIV. Within a few weeks after being infected, some people get
sore muscles and joints,
swollen lymph glands,
or a skin rash for one or two weeks.
Most people think it's the flu.
Some people have no symptoms.
The virus will multiply in your body for a few weeks or even months before your immune system responds. During this time, you won't test positive for HIV, but you can infect other people.
When your immune system responds, it starts to make antibodies. When this happens, you will test positive for HIV.
After the first flu-like symptoms, some people with HIV stay healthy for ten years or longer. But during this time, HIV is damaging your immune system.
One way to measure the damage to your immune system is to count your CD4 cells you have. These cells, also called "T-helper" cells, are an important part of the immune system. Healthy people have between 500 and 1,500 CD4 cells in a milliliter of blood.
Without treatment, your CD4 cell count will most likely go down. You might start having signs of HIV disease like fevers, night sweats, diarrhea, or swollen lymph nodes. If you have HIV disease, these problems will last more than a few days, and probably continue for several weeks.
Though there are two cases of people who have been cured, there is currently no safe cure for HIV
There is no way to "clear" HIV from the body. Antiretroviral therapy can slow down the HIV virus, and slow down or reverse the damage to your immune system. Most people stay healthy if they stay adherent to ART.
Other drugs can prevent or treat opportunistic infections (OIs). ART has also reduced the rate of most OIs. A few OIs, however, are still very difficult to treat.
Unprotected sex has a high risk of spreading HIV. The greatest risk is when blood or sexual fluid touches the soft, moist areas (mucous membrane) inside the rectum, vagina, mouth, or at the tip of the penis. These can be damaged easily, which gives HIV a way to get into the body.
Vaginal or rectal intercourse without protection is unsafe. Sexual fluids enter the body, and wherever a man’s penis is inserted, it can cause small tears that make HIV infection more likely.
The receptive partner is more likely to be infected, although HIV might be able to enter the penis, especially if it has contact with HIV-infected blood or vaginal fluids for a long time or if it has any open sores.
Some men think that they can’t transmit HIV if they pull their penis out before they reach orgasm. This isn’t true, because HIV can be in the fluid that comes out of the penis before orgasm.
Most sexual activity carries some risk of spreading HIV. To reduce the risk, make it more difficult for blood or sexual fluid to get into your body.
Be aware of your body and your partner’s. Cuts, sores, or bleeding gums increase the risk of spreading HIV. Rough physical activity also increases the risk.
Use a barrier to prevent contact with blood or sexual fluid. Remember that the body’s natural barrier is the skin.
The most common artificial barrier is a condom for men. You can also use a female condom to protect the vagina or rectum during intercourse. has more information on condoms.
Lubricants can increase sexual stimulation. Oil-based lubricants like Vaseline, oils, or creams can damage condoms and other latex barriers.
Be sure to use water-based lubricants.
Oral sex has low risk of transmitting HIV, but it is possible if sexual fluids get in the mouth and if there are bleeding gums or sores in the mouth. Pieces of latex or plastic wrap over the vagina, or condoms over the penis, can be used as barriers during oral sex. Condoms without lubricants are best for oral sex. Most lubricants taste awful.
HIV medications can lower the risk of transmitting HIV. HIV-negative persons at risk can take medications, pre-exposure prophylaxis ´´ before exposure, or post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hour of exposure. A HIV+ person who takes medications and has an undetectable viral load is much less likely to infect others.