AIDS Awareness – World Aids Day
WORLD AIDS DAY 1st DECEMBER
What is AIDS and how is it caused?
AIDS stands for “acquired immune deficiency syndrome,” a disease in which the body’s immune system breaks down. Normally, the immune system fights off infections in the body and certain other diseases. When this system fails, such as in a person with AIDS,the person can develop a number of life-threatening illnesses. People do not die of AIDS, but of the complications resulting from an opportunistic infection because of a compromised immune system.
AIDS is caused by a virus called the “human immunodeficiency virus,” more commonly referred to as HIV. The HIV virus may live in the body for years before it is even noticed until symptoms begin appearing. It is important to note that although there are novisible symptoms, the virus can still be transmitted. Actually a person can go without having symptoms for up to 10-15 years.
HIV is transmitted primarily through exposure to HIV-infected blood or another body fluid. The 4 primary modes of transmission of HIV are:
1. Blood-to-blood transmission
Through transfusion of, or direct contact with, HIV-infected blood
Exposure to HIV-contaminated needles, syringes, and other equipment
2. Sexual contact
Unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse
Direct contact with HIV-infected body fluids such as semen and cervical and vaginal secretions
3. Mother To Child Transmission of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery
4. Mother To Child Transmission of HIV during breast-feeding
Several large studies have confirmed that there is no risk of transmission through casual contacts with household members such as sharing meals, sleeping together (without sexual contact), handshaking, hugging, or holding a baby.
HIV CANNOT be transmitted by:
Coughing or sneezing
Being bitten by an insect
Touching or hugging
Going to a public bath/pool
Using a public toilet
Working or going to school with a person who is HIV infected
What can I do to support World AIDS Day?
There are many ways in which you can support World AIDS Day. For example:
Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in your area
Wear a red ribbon and ask others to do the same
Protect yourself and your partners – this is the first and best way to stop the spread of HIV
If you are worried – get tested.
Take Action Today
Around forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world – and that number increases in every region every day. In the UK alone, more than 60,000 people are living with HIV and more than 7,000 more are diagnosed every year. Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease.
World AIDS Day, 1 December is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This year, it’s up to you, me and us to stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice.
You: Wear a red ribbon
Me: Talk to people
Us: Get involved in events
The red ribbon
The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.
The red ribbon started as a “grass roots” effort, and as a result there is no one official red ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It’s easily done – just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!
Source of Information:
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