While scientists know more about the HIV infection than ever, and can prevent it from progressing into AIDS, there is still no known cure for the virus.
The 30th annual World AIDS Day is taking place December 1, 2018 to raise awareness about the disease and the fight against HIV infection. The day also shows support for those living with HIV, and remembers those who have lost their lives to an AIDS-related illness.
The first ever global health day dedicated to AIDS awareness took place in 1988, according to the World AIDS Day Campaign. Today, there are an estimated 36.7 million people living with an HIV infection globally.
The virus has taken more than 35 million lives since it’s identification in 1984, making it one of the deadliest pandemics to exist, according to World AIDS Day.
When HIV was first identified, it was considered a death sentence. Due to advances in medicine, however, those infected with HIV can live with the disease. While scientists know more about the virus than ever, and can prevent it from progressing into AIDS, there is still no known cure for HIV infection, according to the campaign.
HIV is not as deadly as it once was, but it is still considered a world crisis, with 5000 people in the United Kingdom (UK) being diagnosed each year. World AIDs Day aims to promote awareness for HIV prevention and testing, while also ending the stigma and discrimination that HIV-positive patients face, according to the campaign. The campaign reminds the public that AIDS has not gone away and that raising money, promoting awareness, destigmatizing those infected, and improving education are vital to ending AIDS.
This year’s campaign theme is Rock the Ribbon, encouraging people to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day to stand in solidarity with the millions who are currently living with HIV. As there is no cure for HIV, those infected often face discrimination that prevents them from living full lives. Individuals who are HIV-positive are often associated with living in poverty and having poor mental health, according to the campaign.
The ribbon also represents HIV awareness and early detection. HIV transmission rates are slowing down in the UK, yet almost 50% of diagnosed patients are not aware of their condition until it has already permanently damaged their health. Early detection can prevent health damage and make AIDS progression easier to prevent.
The campaign is also hosting a festival with STOPAIDS and other community groups in the UK called ENDAIDS2030. The festival is dedicated to raising awareness for the public health concern of HIV, with the goal of ending AIDS worldwide by 2030. The festival began on November 26, and is running through December 3.
Rock the Ribbon this World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day. https://www.worldaidsday.org/campaign/. Accessed November 30, 2018.