World AIDS Day

HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: heaven knows they need it.

Princess Diana


Held for the first time in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. Celebrated annually December, 01 the day is the occasion to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who died. A red ribbon is a symbol of World AIDS Day – it represents awareness and support for those living with HIV. The red ribbon was an inspiration for other charities, for instance breast cancer awareness has a pink version of the symbol.

What do HIV and AIDS actually stand for?

HIV - human immunodeficiency virus

AIDS - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is a virus. AIDS is a medical condition.

AIDS is a syndrome caused by a HIV virus. HIV is the virus, which attacks the T-cells (CD-4 cells) in the immune system. AIDS is the illness, which appears in the advanced stage of HIV infection. The virus can be transmitted by sexual (contact with infected sexual fluids), parinatal (a mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding) or blood (blood transfusion, IV drug addicts) transmission.

Currently, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. The treatments can slow the course of the condition and allow most infected people to live a long and relatively healthy life.

What are the symptoms of HIV and AIDS?

HIV: dry cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea), night sweats, permanent tiredness, blurred vision, diarrhea which is usually persistent or chronicfever of above 100 °F (37 °C) lasting for weeks, swollen glands lasting for weeks, unintentional weight loss, white spots on the tongue or mouth. AIDS is the late-stage of HIV infection and it's symptoms are relatively similar.

There are many misconceptions about HIV and AIDS!!!

The virus CANNOT be transmitted from:

  • shaking hands
  • hugging
  • casual kissing
  • sneezing
  • touching unbroken skin
  • using the same toilet
  • sharing towels
  • sharing cutlery
  • mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • or other forms of "casual contact"

World AIDS Day is extremely significant as it reminds the public and governments that HIV has not disappeared – there is a constant need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.




Beata Jaranowska