World AIDS Day 2018: 5 Things You Should Know

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World AIDS Day 2018: This day is marked by WHO as a global public health campaign.

New Delhi: World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 every year. The day is dedicated to spreading awareness about the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which is spread by infection from a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The day is marked by the World Health Organisation as a global public health campaign. One can be at a greater risk of HIV if one has unprotected anal or vaginal sex, sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment, receive unsafe injections, blood transfusions, tissue transplantation, medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing; and experience accidental needle stick injuries including among health workers. Here are some facts about AIDS that you must know:

  1. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus leads to infection and it attacks the immune system. While HIV can be transmitted between people, AIDS is a condition that is acquired only after a person has contracted the HIV infection. AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection.
  2. HIV can be suppressed by combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) consisting of 3 or more antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. ART does not cure HIV infection but suppresses viral replication within a person's body and allows an individual's immune system to strengthen and regain the capacity to fight off infections.
  3. An estimated 21.7 million people were receiving HIV treatment in 2017. However, globally, only 59% of the 36.9 million people living with HIV in 2017 were receiving ART, according to World Health Organisation.
  4. Testing is the best way to determine whether you have HIV, but some of the early symptoms are fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes or mouth ulcers.
  5. HIV self-testing is a process whereby a person who wants to know his or her HIV status collects a specimen, performs a test and interprets the test results in private or with someone they trust. HIV self-testing does not provide a definitive HIV-positive diagnosis – instead, it is an initial test which requires further testing by a health worker.

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