Did you know that World AIDS Day, happening today December 1, isnâ€™t just to raise awareness about AIDS but to also honor persons who have died from the disease? [firstpara]
According to the the World AIDS Day website, there have been 2 million HIV-related deaths in 2008 alone, while 2.7 million new cases of HIV have been reported. While the numbers seem staggering, not all is for naught. According to Manilla Bulletin, â€œnew HIV infections have been reduced by 17 percent over the past eight years.
So maybe, this World AIDS day is doing its job!
When was the first World AIDS day?
The First World AIDS Days was exactly eleven years ago, on December 1, 1988. But it was actually in August 1987 when the concept was born. Two public information officers of the World Health Organization, James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, came up with the idea. They showed it to their boss, Dr. Jonathan Mann, who liked it so much he gave them the green light to launch it the following year, which was 1988.
Why December 1?
It was James Bunn who thought of the date, actually. He wanted a sweep in media coverage because he knew that that would be the key to its success. Both Bunn and Netter decided December 1 would be awesome given that itâ€™s a dead media spot, caught right in the middle of US elections (that was happening in 1988) and the holidays.
Whatâ€™s with the red ribbon?
Not to be confused with the cake shop, the red ribbon is a simple way of showing support for HIV-infected individuals. Says in the WAD website, itâ€™s been an international symbol for AIDS since 1991. â€œThe Red Ribbon Project was created by the New York based organization Visual Aids, which brought together artists to create a symbol of supportâ€¦â€
Okay, you just mentioned AIDS and HIV. They are two different things, right?
Yes, they are! HIV, or Human immunodeficiency virus, is when the immune system of the body begins to break down and fail. So weak and frail the body will be that it can cause AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
Having HIV doesnâ€™t mean you have AIDS. It just leads to it.
Whatâ€™s the gist with HIV?
HIV infection happens when bodily fluidsâ€”blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculateâ€”is passed on from one to another.
So that means any of the following: unsafe sex, blood transfusion, sharing of syringes, and from an HIV-positive mother to her baby.