World AIDS Day celebrates 30 years

On December 1st, 2018, people all over the world celebrated the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day started in 1988 to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS. Here are some common facts you may not know about the virus that affects millions:

  • The difference between HIV and AIDS is HIV is a virus that can lead to AIDS, whereas AIDS is the last 3 stages of an HIV infection.
  • HIV makes it harder to fight other infections because it attacks the immune system.
  • Coming in contact with certain bodily fluids are responsible for infecting a person with HIV. This includes blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, pre-seminal fluids and breast milk.
  • The most common way the virus is spread in the United States is through unprotected anal or vaginal sex. It can also be passed on from a mother to a child through birth or breastfeeding.
  • HIV cannot be spread through sweat, saliva or tears unless blood is mixed in somehow. Other activities such as sharing bathrooms, kissing or touching does not spread it either.
  • Bugs such as ticks and mosquitoes cannot spread HIV.
  • You cannot get HIV by giving blood and the risk of HIV transmission through a blood transfusion is lower than being killed by lightning according to The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
  • Approximately 36.9 million people are living with HIV around the world, according to the United Nations. OF those, 1.8 million were children and 35.1 were adults.
  • HIV/AIDS is not curable but can be treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) which slows the virus allowing those affected to live healthy for many years and reduces the chances of the virus spreading.
  • To prevent contracting HIV, abstain from sex, reduce the number of sexual partners, or use condoms properly. Only use sterile needles and never share them.
  • Help with the cause by donating money to various organizations that fight HIV/AIDS, attend an event or wear a red ribbon.