December 1 is World AIDS Day.
It is a day to acknowledge the progress in HIV prevention and treatment around the world because we have made significant progress. But a world free of HIV, is what we strive for. There is still much that can be done. The theme for 2016 is, “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.”
Globally, an estimated 36.7 million persons are living with HIV/AIDS. Each year, more than 1 million people die from AIDS-related causes, and 2.1 million people become newly infected by HIV. Two-thirds of new HIV infections worldwide occur in Africa. HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. It is spread through bodily fluids (blood, semen, and vaginal fluid.) A person infected may not notice any symptoms or may experience a brief period of influenza-like symptoms. HIV will eventually progress into AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. As the infection progresses, it interferes with the immune system. This weakened immune system increases the risks of common infections like tuberculosis, other opportunistic infections, and certain cancers. These infections can be fatal for someone diagnosed with this disease. Weight loss is commonly associated as well. Most people diagnosed with HIV today, have a normal life expectancy.