World AIDS Day 2018 will be observed on December 1. This year, World AIDS day will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. The theme this year is “Know your status”. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, there has been a significant progress in HIV/AIDS response since 1988, wherein 3 in 4 people with HIV know their status. However, it is still a long way to go as the need is to reach all those people who are living with HIV and don’t know their status. It is important to ensure that all these people get quality care and prevention services.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a life-taking dangerous condition. HIV is a virus which damages the immune system of the body. The immune system helps the body to fight infections and diseases. CD 4 cells are the kind of immune cells which are infected and killed by HIV. Overtime, HIV kills more CD4 cells, thus making the body prone to various kinds of infections and cancers.
Also read: Significant Reduction In New HIV Infections Since 2001
AIDS is caused by people with HIV. It occurs at the most advanced stage of HIV. It is important to know that a person who has HIV will develop AIDS. The immune system is severely compromised in case of AIDS. It is so weak that it cannot fight any disease or infection and makes a person extremely vulnerable to infections and diseases.
HIV/AIDS can severely hamper a person’s immunity
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Also read: Important HIV Facts And Figures
World AIDS Day Theme: Why you need HIV testing?
HIV testing is important to know your status, for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people with HIV are able to lead a healthy and productive life. The idea is to empower people to protect themselves and their loved ones.
However, the deterrent here is that there is a lot of stigma and discrimination regarding an HIV test. People are mostly concerned about confidential HIV testing. They get tested themselves tested only after becoming ill or experiencing its symptoms.
Also read: List Of Top AIDS Treatment Centres In India
But the good news is that that HIV testing can be done through self-testing, multi-disease testing and community-based testing. Nonetheless, HIV testing programmes still need to be expanded with the help of political will and more investment.
This World AIDS Day, let’s work towards raising awareness about the importance of knowing your status and end all stigmas related to HIV testing.