World’s AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1st.
December 1st is an opportunity to harness the power of social change to put people first and close the access gap. Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by closing the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and people who are being left behind. Closing the gap means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need.
World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 every year, reminding us that the fight against the AIDS pandemic is far from over. More than 36 million people have died since it emerged in the early 1980s. Today, 35.3 million people around the world are living with the virus, including 71,000 in Canada. Every day, 6,800 people are infected. Two researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) tell us
Facts about HIV/AIDS
Aids is one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Caused by infection with HIV, a person may experience a brief period with flu-like symptoms, before a long period with no symptoms. It renders the patient susceptible to infections like tuberculosis and certain cancers.
In the final stages of Aids, lung infections and a type of cancer known as Kaposi’s sarcoma are common.
HIV is primarily transmitted via unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child, via pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains most severely affected, with nearly one in every 20 adults living with HIV and accounting for nearly 71% of the people living with HIV worldwide.
There are around two million deaths from Aids each year, of which about 270,000 are children.
At the end of 2013, 11.7 million people were receiving ART in low- and middle-income countries, which is around 36% of the 32.6 million people living with HIV in these regions.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, around 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus.
HIV is treated with antiretrovirals, which work by stopping the virus replicating in the body, allowing the immune system to repair itself and preventing further damage. Patients tend to take three or more types of antiretrovirals – known as combination or antiretroviral therapy.
Antiretroviral therapy prevents the onward transmission of HIV.
Progress has also been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission and keeping mothers alive. In 2013, nearly seven out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV – 970 000 women – received antiretrovirals.
For more information on HIV and Hepatitis C visit http://www.catie.ca