World AIDS Day, also known as World AIDS Vaccine Day, is commemorated on 18th May every year. The objective for the day is to make us aware of the importance of HIV vaccinations to prevent the contraction of HIV infection and AIDS. The day also serves the purpose of showing gratitude to community members, volunteers, other professionals, and scientists who play an integral role in preventing the disease from spreading. Not just that, it also seeks to educate people across the globe about the progress made in preventing HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). World AIDS Vaccine Day also encourages the medical community to innovate further with technologies for more advanced treatments and preventive measures for life-threatening diseases.
What Are HIV & AIDS?
The HIV virus attacks cells that specialise in helping your body fight infection. This makes an individual more susceptible to other diseases and infections. The transmissible diseases can be contracted through shared needles, unprotected sex, or passed down genetically from a mother to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Certain early symptoms of the disease like fever, flu, and sore throat usually manifest within a few weeks of being infected. HIV develops into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if left untreated. It is the last stage of the HIV infection where the immune system is severely damaged by the virus.
History & Significance Of World AIDS Day
Commemorated on 18th May annually, AIDS Vaccine Day aims to set new objectives for upgrading the treatment and preventive measures for HIV and AIDS. The first World AIDS Day commemorated in 1998, witnessed the then US President Bill Clinton offering a speech to lay down the objectives for developing a vaccine within the next decade, making use of the advancements made in medical research. At present, communities, volunteers, and professionals involved in raising awareness about the causes and are an integral part of medical advancements organise various activities to raise awareness about the disease.
5 Startling Facts About HIV/AIDS You Should Be Aware Of
On AIDS Vaccine Day, let’s take a look at some facts that you should know about HIV/AIDS in India.
- The three states in India with the highest prevalence of HIV among adults are Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur.
- Other states and Union Territories (UTs) with incidents of HIV above the national average are Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Karnataka, and Delhi, among others.
- There were almost 70,000 cases of HIV in 2019, which implies that there are 190 new infections every day and 8 new infections every hour.
- India recorded almost 59,000 deaths owing to deaths in the year 2019 alone.
- Andhra Pradesh recorded the highest number of deaths among Indian states, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka.
2 AIDS Vaccines Available In India
Here are AIDS vaccines that you can take to reduce the chances of an HIV infection.
- Take the PEP vaccine within 72 hours of possible exposure to the HIV infection.
- PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis can reduce your chances of being susceptible to HIV from sex or injection drug use.
4 Ways To Prevent Being Susceptible To HIV
1. Use Barrier Methods During Intercourse
Make sure to use protection during sex. Male condoms, female condoms, and a host of others are readily available these days, offline and online. Explore these options and stick to the one that you and your partner are the most comfortable with.
2. Be More Careful During Anal Sex
Anal sex leaves you the most susceptible to HIV infection as compared to vaginal sex or oral sex. There is no risk of HIV transmission during sexual activities that don’t involve contact with body fluids like vaginal fluid, semen, or blood. However, the risk of being susceptible to other STDs remains.
3. Restrict Yourself To One Sexual Partner
Restrict yourself to one sexual partner at a time. There is a risk of being susceptible to the infection even in a monogamous relationship. Either of you may have already been infected with the disease at the start of your relationship. Hence, it is advised that you get yourself tested before getting into a new physical relationship and convince your partner to do the same.
4. Take PEP
Make sure you take PEP, the HIV prevention vaccine, within 72 hours of possible exposure to the HIV infection.
Treatment For HIV/AIDS
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS yet. Although it cannot be cured, supportive treatments can help patients enjoy long and healthy lives. However, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can impede its development and also prevent the infection from getting transmitted to your sexual partner(s).
World AIDS Vaccine Day is an effort to spread awareness about the disease and thank volunteers and community members for their contribution towards the prevention and treatment of the disease. You too can do your bit to save yourself and your partner(s) from being susceptible to HIV/AIDS by following the preventive measures that we just discussed above. If you do feel that there is a possibility that you have been affected by HIV infection, you need to know about the AIDS vaccines in India that we discussed earlier in the article.
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