World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year since 1988. It is dedicated to raise awareness, educate and improve the understanding of HIV as a global public health problem. It provides an opportunity to understand the interdependence between progress in ending Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and progress towards Universal Health Coverage and the right to health.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2021 is “End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics”.
The day focuses on the increasing inequalities & inequities in access to the healthcare services for HIV due to Covid-19. This is a call for all to reach the people who are currently not receiving the AIDS related services to make lives of people living with HIV less challenging.
According to WHO, in 2020,
The new target set by UNAIDS, 95-95-95, will need to redouble efforts to decrease the numbers of HIV infections due to healthcare disruptions and to increase the public health response to HIV.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the human body results into weakening of people’s immune system (defense system) against infections and some types of cancer. This immunodeficiency results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections, cancers and other diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off.
The most advanced stage of HIV infection is called as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It is defined by the occurrence of any of more than 20 opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.
Signs and symptoms:
How is HIV transmitted?
High Risk groups (HRGs)- Female sex workers (FSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender (TG) and injecting drug users (IDUs) belong to high risk groups.
Bridge Populations- Individuals who have sexual partners in the high risk groups as well as other partners of lower risk (general population) are called a “bridge population” because they form a transmission bridge from the HRGs to the general population. Truckers and Migrant workers are named as bridge population due to their close proximity with high risk groups and are at the risk of contracting HIV.
HIV is not transmitted:
Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS:
National Aids Control Programme (NACP) is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The programme is being implemented through the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) and District AIDS Prevention and Control Units (DAPCUs) in the country to reduce new infections by 50% (2007 Baseline of NACP III) and to provide comprehensive care, support and treatment to all persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Even though the prevalence of HIV is decreasing over the last decade, following activities under the NACP would provide essential support in arresting new infections and thereby achieving the target of "Ending the epidemic by 2030" for Sustainable Development Goals.
Red Ribbon Express- It travels across the country through a specified route chart to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS, promote safe behavioural practices, strengthen people's knowledge about the measures to be taken to prevent this epidemic and develop an understanding about the disease to reduce stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS.
Keyways to prevent HIV transmission
HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2017-click here