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General - April 5, 2022

World AIDS Vaccine Day – 18 May

AIDS Vaccine Day 

About AIDS Vaccine Day

HIV/AIDS is one of the most devastating pandemics ever to strike humanity. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 37.9 million individuals worldwide lived with HIV. In India alone, an estimated 21.4 lakh persons were living with HIV by the end of 2017. HIV/AIDS is a group of diseases caused by HIV infection and impair the body’s T cells.

Infected people spread the disease via sharing needles, blood, and unprotected sex, as well as from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding. After a first infection, a person may suffer no symptoms or a brief period of flu-like symptoms such as fever, joint pains, body soreness, and enlarged lymph nodes.

This is usually followed by a long period of asymptomatic recovery. As the infection advances, the immune system becomes more vulnerable, as seen by a drop in CD4 cell count in the blood. This puts the patient at risk for illnesses like tuberculosis and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and cancers like Kaposi sarcoma, which are uncommon in persons with healthy immune systems. AIDS refers to the late symptoms of infection that arise in the human body. Blood tests are used to diagnose the virus, which looks for antibodies to the virus.

History.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases commemorates World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Virus Awareness Day (NIAID). The idea for this day came from a speech given by then-US President Bill Clinton on May 18, 1993. Given the improvement in science and technology, he sought to set new targets for generating a vaccine within the next decade. He also discussed raising AIDS awareness, emphasizing the importance of approaching the disease in the proper manner and with the proper mindset.

To honour the first anniversary of Clinton’s speech, the inaugural World AIDS Vaccine Day was commemorated in 1998. Every year on this day, communities all around the world perform a variety of activities to promote awareness about vaccines, prevention, and community education, as well as to draw attention to ways that individuals can contribute to the international effort to avert the pandemic.

Why is it important to raise AIDS awareness?

There is currently no cure for HIV, while antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help decrease the virus’s reproduction. This emphasizes the need for prevention, including raising awareness, practicing safe sex, avoiding needle sharing, and testing at-risk persons early. Vaccines work by boosting the immune system to protect the body from infection. Creating a safe and effective vaccine will go a long way toward protecting people from contracting HIV.

Even a marginally effective vaccine can help to control the pandemic by lowering transmission. However, due to the virus’s rapid genetic mutation, antibodies’ failure to efficiently destroy the virus, and the risk of viral replication inside the body due to the vaccine’s use of a weakened virus, there have been numerous challenges in developing a vaccine.

Currently, there is no licensed HIV vaccine on the market, but numerous research initiatives are underway. Human evidence suggests that a vaccine could be developed shortly.

Although as stated above, HIV is one of the deadliest problems which has ever occurred in mankind, without any cure. However, we must also keep in mind that people who have been suffering from HIV should not be treated as untouchables and the community should not discard them ever.

The day has been commenced to spread awareness about this deadliest problem. There are so many people across the world who have no idea still in the 21st century that was is HIV and what is the purpose behind it to know about it. Hence, on this day various campaigns are run both digitally and offline to spread the awareness and tell people the importance of being aware.

Only if the whole world knew what HIV is, the problem will become half of what it is now, and slowly wither away.

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