December 1st has marked World AIDS Day since 1988. This day is an opportunity for all people throughout the world to unite in the fights against the spread of HIV/AIDS. This is the largest health initiative in the world working toward awareness and education on the dangers of HIV. Each year, hundreds of organizations create special events to show support for people living with HIV/AIDS and to help people get tested for HIV.
According to World AIDS Day organizers, there are currently an estimated 34 million people living with HIV throughout the world. Since 1981 over 35 million people worldwide have died from the infection. Despite advancements in treatment and detection, the virus still poses a major threat. World AIDS Day serves as a reminder to governments and to the general public that HIV has not gone away and that there are still vital needs to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education in order to truly defeat HIV.
World AIDS Day has many chances for you to participate. You can donate to HIV research fundraising efforts, wear a World AIDS Day ribbon in a show of solidarity or get tested for HIV. Testing is important because it can often be the only way to know the current status of your sexual health.
Early detection of the virus can help patients begin treatment for HIV and help prevent the virus from developing into AIDS. Thanks to events such as World AIDS Day, research and development into new treatments for HIV have helped to create very successful medicines in preventing the development and spread of HIV. There is still a lot more to do though.
There is currently no vaccine or cure for HIV. Transmission of the virus occurs through the exchange of bodily fluids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of latex condoms when engaging in sexual activity to help prevent the spread of STDs and HIV. The CDC further recommends that all sexually active people between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once in their lifetime for HIV.