Today, on the first of December, the world celebrates World AIDS Day to raise global awareness about HIV and AIDS. Though it has been declared a pandemic and over 25 million people have lost their lives to the fatal disease in the past 27 years, AIDS is perhaps one of the most misunderstood diseases in the history of time.
A report released by the World Health Organisation says that almost 33.4 million patients were living with HIV and more than 2 million died of AIDS in 2008. Of these, 280,000 were children under the age of 15. Every year over 2.7 million people are added to this deadly tally of those infected. The Sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) declared in 2000 is aimed at stopping and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
One common misconception is that the disease spreads mostly amongst homosexuals. Slowly but steadily, people are beginning to realize that AIDS does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race or sexual orientation. HIV, the virus responsible for the condition is transmitted through direct contact of blood stream or mucous membrane with an infected bodily fluid and can occur in any individual if correct preventions are not taken. A vaccine for AIDS is yet to available and till that time prevention is the only way to be absolutely safe. Unfortunately, United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) reports that only one in three young people understand exactly how HIV is transmitted. The need of the hour is to bring about a prevention revolution.