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World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day, observed on December 1st, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and to honor people who have died.
 
 
 
Why is World AIDS Day important?

Globally, an estimated 34 million people are living with HIV1.  More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and almost 1 in 5 are unaware of their infection2.  About 8,000 people in Wisconsin are currently living with HIV3.  And while there have been many medical advances in the treatment of HIV, many people do not know how to protect themselves and others from HIV.

So what are the facts?

  • HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  It is a virus which attacks the immune system.
  • AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  A person with HIV is considered to have developed AIDS when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off diseases.
  • HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, rectal secretions or breast milk.  The most common ways HIV is passed on are:
    • Sex without a condom
    • Sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment
    • There is no cure for HIV, but people on HIV treatment can live healthy and active lives.
    • To protect yourself against HIV, ALWAYS use a condom when having sex and NEVER share needles or syringes.

What can I do to honor World AIDS Day?

  • Get tested.  Click here to find a testing location near you.
  • Wear a red ribbon.  The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV.

 

Sources:
http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/world-aids-day/
http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/aids-hiv/
http://www.hivaware.org.uk/be-aware/about-hiv/

 

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