World AIDS Day: Raising Awareness About the AIDS Pandemic
Since 1988 World AIDS Day has been on the 1st of December. Notated by the red ribbon, the international day is dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, showing support for people living with HIV, and remembering those who have died from an AIDS related illness.
What is AIDS
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV damages the body's immune system, interfering with its ability to fight infection and disease by destroying important cells.
Cure and Symptoms
There is currently no cure for AIDS. The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Some common symptoms are flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection. Symptoms can last for a few days or several weeks.
There are more tools available for prevention than ever before. Some strategies for prevention are abstinence, never sharing needles, and always wearing a condom during sex.
How to Protect Others if You Have HIV
HIV is spread through blood, semen, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, or breast milk. Having open honest conversations with your loved ones is a key step to staying healthy. Facing this diagnosis alone can be hard for some people.
Mental Health and AIDS
Mental health disorders impact the lives of 1 in 4 people who are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the most common being depression and anxiety. The patient not only worries about their disease and managing it, but also deals with the fact that this debilitating condition can take their life. Talking to a loved one can help those feel less lonely in their journey.
World AIDS Day is a time to bring awareness of HIV, encourage testing, and educate about the options for treatment. You are not alone!