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World AIDS Day

  • 01 Dec 2022
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: World AIDS Day, AIDS, HIV

For Mains: Status of AIDS Globally and Nationally, AIDS, HIV, Related Initiatives

Why in News?

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.

Why is World AIDS Day Celebrated?

  • About:
  • Theme for 2022:
    • ‘Equalize’.
      • It encourages people to unite globally to eliminate the disparities and inequities that create barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and access to HIV care.’
  • Significance:
    • 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.

What is AIDS Disease?

  • About:
    • AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening health condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that interferes with the body's ability to fight infections.
    • 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.
  • Transmission:
    • HIV can spread through multiple sources, by coming in direct contact with certain body fluids from a person infected with HIV, who has a detectable viral load. It can be blood, semen, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid or breast milk.
  • Symptoms:
    • Once HIV converts into AIDS then it may present in initial symptoms like unexplained fatigue, fever, sores around genitals or neck, pneumonia etc.
  • Prevention:
    • Make sure to use protective techniques.
    • Make sure to avoid using contaminated needles.
    • Prevent mother to child transmission.
    • If someone is aware of the infection in their body, make sure they are on the right treatment path.
    • Opt for the set of pre-marital tests before marriage which includes an HIV test and helps to ensure safety from other Sexually Transmitted Diseases as well.

What is the Global & National Status of AIDS?

  • Global:
    • According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), as of 2021, 38.4 million people were living with HIV, out of which 1.7 million were children.
      • 54% of all people living with HIV were women and girls.
      • 85% of all people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2021.
    • In 2021, 6,50,000 people died of AIDS-related diseases.
  • National:
    • According to UNAIDS, an estimated 2.4 million people were living with HIV in India in 2021 (including 70,000 children).
      • Maharashtra had the maximum numbers followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

What are India’s Initiatives to Curb AIDS Disease?

  • HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017: According to this act, the central and state governments shall take measures to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS.
  • Access to ART:
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed a MoU with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2019 for enhanced HIV/AIDS outreach and to reduce the incidence of social stigma and discrimination against victims of drug abuse and Children and People Living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Project Sunrise:
    • Project Sunrise was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2016, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs.

Source: IE

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