On May 18, 2020, World AIDS Vaccine Day (or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day) has been celebrated all over the world to recognize and acknowledge the hard work of the thousands of health professionals, volunteers, members of the medical field and scientists who have been working together for so many years to make HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) vaccine.
It is also an occasion when people are made aware of the measures and possible treatment to avoid AIDS.
i.The observance of this day is headed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), Washington DC, US (United States).
ii.The first AIDS Vaccine Day was celebrated on 18 May 1998. A year before that, then US (United States) president Bill Clinton insisted on the discovery of a vaccine to treat the epidemic.
iii.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2018 this disease has been found in 37.9 million people worldwide & about 7,70,000 people died of the disease in the same year.
In India, the figure was estimated at 21.4 lakh people, who were living with HIV in at the end of 2017.
iv.The United Nations (UN) has set a target to eliminate AIDS from its roots by 2030.
What is AIDS?
- It is caused by a virus called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that affects T lymphocytes in the body. This infection is spread from an infected person to another through sharing of needles, blood, unprotected sex and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
- It causes serious damage to the immunity of the body, due to which the person’s ability to fight infection is weakened. This problem gradually increases with time. Due to this, the person is at risk of fatal infection and experience a brief period of flu like symptoms like fever, joint pains, body ache and enlarged lymph glands.