World AIDS Day is celebrated every year on December 1 to raise awareness about the epidemic caused by HIV infection that takes millions of lives each year.

The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can take many years to develop if not treated, depending on the individual.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence against many infections and some types of cancer that people with healthy immune systems can fight off.

Here are some facts shared by World Health Organization, about the epidemic:

  1. HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 36.3 million [27.2–47.8 million] lives so far.

2. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.

3. There were an estimated 37.7 million (30.2–45.1 million) people living with HIV at the end of 2020, over two-thirds of whom (25.4 million) are in the WHO African Region.

4. In 2020, 680 000 [480 000–1.0 million] people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million [1.0–2.0 million] people acquired HIV.

5. To reach the new proposed global 95–95–95 targets set by UNAIDS, we will need to redouble our efforts to avoid the worst-case scenario of 7.7 million HIV-related deaths over the next 10 years, increasing HIV infections due to HIV service disruptions during COVID-19, and the slowing public health response to HIV.

Also read: World First Aid Day 2021: Significance, theme & quotes on importance of first aid



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