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World AIDS Day: Nursa Recognizes This Day By Raising Awareness

When is World AIDS Day?

This year 2022 world AIDS day is on Thursday, December 1st. It is a day to create more awareness of HIV and AIDS since it is a disease that crosses social and economic barriers and is prevalent all over the world. At the same time, this day aims to mourn the people who passed away at the hands of this terrible disease.

Historically, December 1st, 1988, was the first World AIDS Day in the world, focusing on children and youth, and it was also the first world day commemorating a disease. Over the years, one of the most extensive campaigns within this day has been the elimination of stigmas towards people living with HIV and AIDS patients and the elimination of myths about the disease. Over 34 years, the themes have changed, but the historical objectives to fight for the rights of people with HIV have remained and are still present. For example, another critical issue to include in the fight is the prevention of the disease through different prophylactic methods and information available to all population sectors.

During the week following December 1st, AIDS awareness week is also celebrated, where all health sectors make significant efforts to increase awareness of the disease.

Why is HIV Awareness Important?

AIDS statistics indicate that worldwide 38.4 million people are living with HIV on average, and in 2021, 650,000 people lost their lives due to AIDS-related illnesses. It is essential to remind the world that the disease has not gone away and that there is still a long way to go to eliminate it almost completely. HIV awareness is one way the disease can be prevented in the long run, as it has been proven that information is a powerful tool for not acquiring HIV.

AIDS awareness is also essential, as treatment in a person with HIV can help prevent the disease from becoming fatal. It is a common social misconception that all people with HIV necessarily have a deadly diagnosis.

What's the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It causes the cells of the body's defense system to weaken, making it difficult for the body to fight various diseases that it would normally fight without problems. HIV is spread through unprotected sex (i.e., without the use of condoms or HIV-specific preventive medicine), and it can also be applied through the use of needles shared by more than one person since it is spread through the bloodstream. Knowing the causes of contagion is key to preventing HIV and AIDS worldwide, given that once the virus enters the body, it is a lifelong disease. That is to say, HIV cannot be removed from the body, although if treated in time, levels of the virus can be kept low enough not to infect others.

If the disease is left untreated, HIV infects the defense cells to such a degree that the patient's condition is referred to as acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. AIDS occurs when the CD4 cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (when the normal range is between 500 and 1,600 cells per cubic millimeter of blood), or AIDS occurs when there is an opportunistic disease attacks the body regardless of the CD4 cell count. Opportunistic infections invade the patient's weakened health to attack the body. Generally, these aggressive, opportunistic diseases will be the cause of death of AIDS patients within a year or so, and not the virus, which causes general weakness.

Many activities support this noble cause, given that this day highlights the importance of education and awareness regarding the disease. One of the things you can do to help World AIDS Day is to buy a red ribbon from one of the organizations that support the cause. Another important step to prevent infection is getting tested, as testing can identify the disease in its early stages and significantly extend people's life expectancy. It is also important to remember that while the prevalence of AIDS and HIV is high in certain regions, for example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, North America has a prevalence of 0.6% (with a range of HIV-positive people between 1 to 1.9 million people). We must continue actively preventing infection, supporting the cause so that more people can access information, prevention, and treatment, and getting tested to avoid becoming infected without knowing it.

Finally, there is the possibility of being part of this movement throughout the year. It is possible to support the cause by volunteering, donating, spreading information in general, etc. That's why the Nursa team decided to support the cause as much as possible by raising awareness for World AIDS Day.

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Booher, RN
Blog published on:
December 2, 2022

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