World AIDS Day: Global solidarity, shared responsibility
The AIDS virus was discovered on April 23 in 1984. The virus named ‘retrovirus HTLV-III’ helped scientists understand how the disease is spread. If the number of CD4 cells (a cluster of white blood cells) fall below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood, a person is considered to have advanced to AIDS.
Each year, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America’
Contracting the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is no longer seen as a death sentence in developed countries, which have the resources to treat it. However, millions of people around the world contract HIV and die of the last stage of the virus’s infection – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.
Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS typically survive for about 3 years. There is a common misconception that HIV and AIDS are the same. As said before, AIDS is the final stage of HIV contamination.
On 1st December WHO joins partners in paying tribute to all those working to provide HIV services, and in calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19 and beyond. It is a call to focus on vulnerable groups who are already at risk and expand coverage to children and adolescents. In 2020, the International year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery. We can all contribute to the effort to end AIDS and make the world a healthier place.