World AIDS Vaccine Day 2024 – May 18

World AIDS Vaccine Day - May 18 2024World AIDS Vaccine Day (WAVD), also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD), is annually observed across the globe on 18th May to raise awareness about the significance of Human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) infections in preventing Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

  • WAVD recognises the community members, health professionals, and scientists working together to develop a vaccine for HIV prevention.
  • 18th May 2024 marks the observance of the 27th annual HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD).

Note: HIV remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases, and developing an HIV vaccine remains a global health priority.

Awareness Ribbon:

The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV.


i.The day 18th May marks the anniversary of the 1997 speech by then President of the United States of America (USA) Bill Clinton advocating the development of an AIDS vaccine.

ii.The 1st WAVD was observed on 18 May 1998, to commemorate the anniversary of Clinton’s speech.


i.HIV is a virus that affects the immune system, specifically targeting CD4 cells(a type of white blood cell), which are crucial for the body’s defense against infections and diseases

ii.AIDS is a condition caused by the HIV which is characterized by a weakened immune system.

iii.HIV can be transmitted through certain bodily fluids, including blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

iv.HIV can be treated and prevented with Antiretroviral therapy (ART). Without treatment, HIV can progress to AIDS over years.

v.Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent or treat HIV.

Advanced HIV Disease (AHD):

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Advanced HIV Disease (AHD) as a CD4 cell count of less than 200 cells/ cubic millimeter (mm³) or WHO stage 3 or 4.

  • Children: All children under 5 years old with HIV are considered to have AHD.

Discovery of HIV:

i.In 1983, French virologists Dr. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Dr. Luc Montagnier at the Pasteur Institute in France reported the discovery of a retrovirus that could cause AIDS.

ii.They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus.”

  • They shared the Prize with the German virologist Harald zur Hausen “for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer.”

Promising strategies:

i.Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies (bNAbs): These antibodies can recognize HIV and block the virus from entering immune cells.

ii.T-cell Immune Responses: These vaccines aim to generate HIV-specific T-cell responses to prevent chronic infections.

iii.mRNA Platforms: Leveraging messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology helps the immune system recognize, remember, and respond to the virus.

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