Today December 1 is World AIDS Day. The day has been marked yearly since 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an international day to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS.
This year’s theme “Communities Make the Difference,” highlights the role of communities in preventing, treating and supporting people living with HIV/AIDS.
The organisation behind it is the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Following are the facts about the ailment according to information provided by the WHO:
- As at end of year 2018, 37.9 million people around the world were living with HIV.
- Over two thirds of people with HIV live in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
- About 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2018.
- Between 2000 and 2018, new HIV infections dropped by 37 percent and HIV-related deaths slipped by 45 percent, with 13.6 million lives saved due to anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
- Globally, only 62 percent of adults and 52 percent of children living with HIV were receiving the lifelong ART.
- The first cases of HIV were reported more than 35 years ago.
- In January 1996, the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was launched under a resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council.
- HIV can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected people, such as blood, breast milk and semen.
- Individuals cannot be infected through ordinary day-to-day contact, such as hugging and shaking hands.
- No confirmed cure has yet been found for HIV/AIDS.