Published: 01st December 2021
What the FAQ: Why is World AIDS Day observed on December 1?
World AIDS day is observed to raise awareness about the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses and the Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome that they spread and to remember people who have died of it
Every year, on December 1, World AIDS day is observed to raise awareness about the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses and the Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome that they spread and to remember people who have died of it. However, why was December 1 chosen as the World AIDS Day? We will try to decode it here.
Why is it important to observe World AIDS Day?
Because the AIDS pandemic has, until now, killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide. While the death rates were quite high in the beginning, now, owing to antiretroviral treatment (ART), it has come down. However, there is no known cure for the disease yet.
How and when did the virus originate? How is it spread?
Even though the virus' primary source is unknown, it is believed to have been spread from non-human primates in West-central Africa and were transferred to humans in the early 20th century. It is spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person, sharing same needles and syringes, blood transfusion and from an infected mother to child.
When was the first World AIDS Day observed?
That was in the year 1988. Two WHO officers James W Bunn and Thomas Netter had proposed this in 1987 and it got approved by the UN to be observed from the following year.
And why was December 1 chosen?
Bunn was a journalist before he started his career with the WHO. According to news reports, he had recommended the date for maximum news coverage, because the date falls after the US elections and before Christmas.
What is the theme this year?
Every year, World AIDS Day has different themes. While the theme was Communication in 1987, this year, it is 'End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics' by the UN. However, in the US alone, it is 'Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice'.