World AIDS Day 2022: History, Significance and Theme

World AIDS Day is annually observed on 1st December. This day is dedicated towards spreading awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who died of the disease. 

The first case of AIDS was reported in 1981 and since then it has killed over 40 million people worldwide, and an estimated 37 million are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. 

On this day, various awareness campaigns and activities that promote the disease awareness are conducted by several organisations across the world, unite to show solidarity for people living with HIV. 

Event World AIDS Day
Date December 1, 2022
Day Thursday
Significance The day raises awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV
Observed by World wide

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World AIDS Day History: 

Regarding the origins and source of HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus), scientists believe that HIV originally came from a virus particular to chimpanzees in West Africa during the 1930s, and originally transmitted to humans through the transfer of blood through hunting. Over the decades, the virus spread through Africa, and to other parts of the world. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980s, when rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses were being reported to doctors that the world became aware of HIV and AIDS. This timeline highlights some of the major events and discoveries in HIV and AIDS since this time. 

It was in the year 1981 when in the US, reporting of unusually high rates of the rare forms of pneumonia and cancer in young gay men begins. The disease is initially called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) because it is thought it only affects gay men. Cases are also reported in Injection Drug Users by the end of the year. In 1982, the disease was renamed Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Canada reports its first case of AIDS in March. It is realized that the infection can be sexually transmitted and caused by HIV. Cases were reported in blood transfusion recipients. 

In the following years important discoveries related to AIDS started to happening which helped us in understanding the disease and its effects. Like by the year 1983, it was discovered that women can become infected with AIDS through heterosexual sex. As the disease continue to grew, the first International Conference on AIDS was held in Georgia, USA in 1985. Next year it was also discovered that HIV can be passed from mother to child through breast-feeding. So by then the diseases had already become a major health issue in front of the world and to address that the first World AIDS Day was held on December 1st, 1988. 

This day was conceived by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, in 1987, two officers who worked for the World Health Organisation in the Global Programme on AIDS. They proposed this idea of observing World AIDS Day to the director of the Global Programme on AIDS, Jonathan Mann, who recommended the commencement of the World AIDS Day on 1 December, 1988. The day is an opportunity for everyone around the world to come together in the fight against the disease and stand in solidarity to support those suffering from HIV, as well as remember those who lost their lives to this illness. 

The theme of the first World AIDS Day was centered on children and youth, to create greater awareness amongst the target age bracket, and the impact of AIDS on their lives and their families. It was also made apparent that AIDS was not limited to commonly stigmatized groups such as drug users. From 1996 onwards, the observance of World AIDS Day was taken over by the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, expanding the campaign to an annual education and prevention campaign. The World AIDS Campaign was registered as a nonprofit organization in 2004 in the Netherlands. 

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World AIDS Day Significance: 

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood and from illicit injection drug use or sharing needles. It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.

The need for AIDS awareness day is essential as HIV infection is currently incurable, but one can control it with good quality education about the disease, especially in rural areas. It was once an unmanageable chronic health condition, but now, with advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, manage, and care including for opportunistic infections, people with HIV can live long, and healthy lives. It is important to tackle it as globally, in the year 2021, about 1.46 million people acquired HIV (new cases), the disease is lethal, as 650,000 HIV patients died in the same year (2021). Approximately 38 million people including 1.7 million children have been reported as HIV infected (as of 2021), among whom 54% are women and girls, with the vast majority of those affected living in low- and middle-income nations. 

It is true that AIDS is incurable but it can be prevented by taking some precautionary measures as there are many actions, one can take to prevent the transmission of HIV to others, as the famous quote says “Prevention is better than cure”, so if you want to avoid the sufferings caused by this diseases then you must aim to prevent it at all cause. For that steps include safe intercourse, get tested and treated for STDs, single sexual partner, abstinence from unhygienic practice such as sharing needles, get tested for HIV, usage of HIV prevention medicines such as pre-and post-exposure prophylaxis. 

HIV/AIDS has had a large impact on society, both as an illness and as a source of discrimination. The disease also has large economic impacts. There are many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, such as the belief that it can be transmitted by casual non-sexual contact. The disease has become subject to many controversies involving religion, including the Catholic Church’s position not to support condom use as prevention. It has attracted international medical and political attention as well as large-scale funding since it was identified in the 1980s. 

Research shows that stigma associated with sex work and LGBT populations, internationally, is a growing factor in unequal access to effective treatment. International AIDS funding began to fall for the first time in 2015, but still, less than half of those suffering from HIV/AIDS have access to anti-retroviral treatment across the world. It’s never been more important to draw attention to the inequalities in treatment, in order to stop its spread once and for all. Hence this day is very important to make people realize about this very serious issue.  

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World AIDS Day Theme: 

The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Over the last few years progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result. 

Division, disparity and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis. 

This year 2022, the World AIDS Day theme is “Equalize”. This theme emphasises eliminating the inequalities that have slowed the fight against the disease. The inequalities, such as gender inequality, limit women’s access to HIV care and other forms of sexual and reproductive health care, which in turn affects their decision-making capabilities and their capacity to decline unwanted sexual encounters or negotiate for safer ones. 

Most Searched FAQs on World AIDS Day: 

1. When is World AIDS Day observed? 

World AIDS Day is annually observed on 1st December. 

2. What does the red ribbon symbolize for World AIDS Day? 

The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Wearing a ribbon is a great way to raise awareness on and during the run-up to World AIDS Day. 

3. What is the theme of World AIDS Day 2022? 

The theme of World AIDS Day 2022 is “Equalize”. 

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