World Aids Day 2022 is observed every year on December 1 to eliminate and reduce the spread of this deadly disease, besides raising awareness about this pandemic that affects millions of people worldwide. According to UNICEF, AIDS is one of the high-rising diseases across the world, and in 2021 more than 6 million people have succumbed to this deadly virus, while around 2 million people have been infected with the same. In India, AIDS-related deaths (ARDs) were estimated to be around 45000 thousand in 2021.
World AIDS Day 2022

The theme ‘Equalize’ for the year 2022 encourages every human soul to unite globally and help in the removal of disparities that create hurdles in HIV testing, prevention, and timely prognosis. While at present, there is no specific cure for this disease, but, with increased access to effective HIV prevention through PrEP (an effective antiretroviral medicine for the prevention of acquisition of HIV infection by an uninfected person), timely diagnosis, and management, AIDS has become a manageable health condition. Moreover, advanced ways of treatment have enabled people infected with HIV to live longer.

Also Read: World AIDS Day: All You Need To Know About HIV Prevention And Treatment

History Of HIV

AIDS is caused by a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) originating from a virus particular to chimpanzees during the 1930s in West Africa. Humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat; therefore, the virus was transmitted through the transfer of their infected blood. Over decades, from Africa, it reached other parts of the world. When HIV started infecting humans in the late seventies, scientists were unaware of its existence thus it was perplexing to them, and the disease could not come to anyone’s attention until 1984. In September 1985, President Ronald Reagan got worried about this new pandemic, and AIDS research was a top priority for his administration post which testing, counseling, services, and treatment opportunities became a norm in the US as well as in other countries.

Misconception About AIDS

Various misconceptions are spread among people due to a lack of knowledge and awareness about HIV or AIDS. Here are some common myths and facts about this disease:

Myth: Once you are HIV Positive, you will die soon.

Fact: Not true at all. Despite HIV is a serious condition that needs an appropriate diagnosis, it is not some death penalty. With the advancement in the field of research and medicine, a person who undergoes antiretroviral therapy may live a normal lifespan despite suffering from AIDS.

Myth: HIV-positive women should not bear a child

Fact: Wrong! Women who are diagnosed with HIV can have children and the child will not have any birth defects. However, there are chances that the mother can pass on the virus to the child. Antiretroviral therapy can help in preventing this transmission besides protecting the mother’s health. It is advisable to consult the doctor before an HIV-infected person plans a family.

Myth: HIV Always Results in AIDS

Fact: Not always. Every HIV-positive patient may or may not have AIDS. When the virus keeps attacking the immune system frequently, it leads to weakened immunity and an increase in the chances of getting AIDS. However, if the virus is left totally untreated and uncontrolled, that may lead to AIDS in some cases.

Myth: If You Take PrEP, condom is not required

Fact: Incorrect. PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis is administered to people who do not have active HIV but are at risk of getting infected by the deadly virus. PrEP can reduce the risk of infection by 99%. But no medicine is a solution against unprotected sex. A condom provides protection from many sexually transmitted diseases and infections which a PrEP cannot.

Also Read: World AIDS Day: Protecting An Unborn Child From HIV

How To Address Inequalities?

Under the theme ‘Equalize,’ this year, UNAIDS urges each one of us to address the inequalities which are holding back AIDS elimination. Certain inequalities persist for the most basic services like testing for HIV. The theme aims at implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination in health services. The slogan aims to work for the practical actions that are needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS. Some of them are as follows:

  • Increase availability, quality, and suitability of treatment, testing, and prevention of this chronic disease
  • Everyone across the globe should have equal access to HIV management and care
  • Laws, policies, and practices to tackle the stigma faced by people affected with HIV to be reformed so that no human must face the brunt of disparity and inequities
  • Economic, social, and cultural inequalities to be brought to notice and need to be addressed on a priority basis
  • To go the extra mile to understand and meet the needs of a specific stratum of society who is at maximum risk and more prone to getting infected with HIV