Nelly Bassily | December 12, 2014
World AIDS Day is held annually on December 1. First held in 1988, the day is an opportunity for people to unite locally and globally in the fight against HIV, and to show their support for people living with HIV.
An estimated 34 million people live with HIV globally. More than 35 million have died from diseases related to the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
There have been many scientific advances in HIV treatment over the years. There are now laws to protect people living with HIV, and much more is understood about living with HIV. Yet some people still do not know, or choose to ignore, the facts about how to protect themselves and others from the virus.
Stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day reminds us and our governments that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
On World AIDS Day 2014, the World Health Organization will issue new recommendations to help countries close important gaps in HIV prevention and treatment services.
These guidelines will include advice on providing antiretroviral drugs for people who have been exposed to HIV – such as health workers, sex workers, and survivors of rape. They will also include recommendations on preventing and managing common infections and diseases ― severe bacterial and malaria infections, cryptococcal meningitis, and the many oral and skin infections that can affect people living with HIV.
You can find more information and campaign materials on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/campaigns/aids-day/2014/event/en/
Several resources are available free on the UNAIDS website: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2014
There is a useful fact sheet at this address: http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/2014/2014gapreport/factsheet