World AIDS Day had its beginning in 1988, when the International AIDS Society was formed. The following year (1989) the World AIDS Day theme was: “Our Lives, Our World – Let’s Take Care of Each Other.” That same year the United States Congress created a National Commission on AIDS.
There has been a designated World AIDS Day each year since, with themes varied and covering different issues relating to men, women, children and young people, and the family.
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
Statistics through 2008
The latest statistics regarding HIV/AIDS on various websites are for the years up to and including 2008. The World Health Organization presents numbers on a chart under the following heading:
Global summary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, December, 2008
Number of people living with HIV in 2008
Total: 33.4 million
(adults, 31.3 million; women, 15.7 million; children under 15 years, 2.1 million)
People newly infected with HIV in 2008
Total: 2.7 million
(adults, 2.3 million; children under 15 years, 430,000)
AIDS deaths in 2008
Total: 2.0 million
(adults, 1.7 million; children under 15 years, 280,000)
The Kaiser Family Foundation website provides a map and accompanying table showing the numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS (adults and children) in 2007-2008. This map provides a very visual image of which nations in the world have the highest concentrations of persons with HIV/AIDS.
Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
The Mayo Clinic staff relates that the symptoms of AIDS/HIV vary, depending on the phase of infection.
Symptoms are grouped by the following: Within the first few weeks, years later, and progression to AIDS. (Click here for their list of progressive symptoms).
In addition to symptoms, the Mayo Clinic staff also addresses the following topics in relation to AIDS/HIV:
Definition; causes; risk factors; complications; preparing for your appointment; tests and diagnosis; treatment and drugs; lifestyle and home remedies; alternative medicine; coping and support, and prevention.
Two additional educational websites regarding AIDS/HIV with excellent information:
Mayo Clinic staff states the following: “There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. These drugs have reduced AIDS deaths in many developed nations. But HIV continues to decimate populations in Africa, Haiti and parts of Asia.”
On World AIDS Day, December 1, please take time to reflect on the enormity of this epidemic, and begin now to learn as much as you can about AIDS/HIV so that you can help disseminate correct information to others as situations arise.