World AIDS Day File photo

World AIDS Day: 10 Facts Everyone Should Know

The AIDS virus was discovered on April 23 in 1984.

Outlook Web Bureau | Dec 01, 2020

Contracting the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is no longer seen as a death sentence in developed countries, which have the resources to treat it. However, millions of people around the world contract HIV and die of the last stage of the virus’s infection – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 6,90,000. And inequalities mean that those who are the least able to stand up for their rights are still the most affected, states UN data.

The AIDS virus was discovered on April 23 in 1984. The virus named 'retrovirus HTLV-III' helped scientists understand how the disease is spread.

If the number of CD4 cells (a cluster of white blood cells) fall below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood, a person is considered to have advanced to AIDS.

Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS typically survive for about 3 years.

There is a common misconception that HIV and AIDS are the same. As said before, AIDS is the final stage of HIV contamination.

Here are 10 facts that you should know:

  1. HIV is a virus that infects the immune system, decreasing its ability to fight off other infections and diseases.
  2. HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex, the transmission of infected blood, sharing infected needles or other sharp instruments, and from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
  3. Over 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV, but almost 1 in 6 don’t know it. Do yourself and loved ones a favour: get tested and encourage others to do the same using Instagram.
  4. About 30 million people have died from HIV/AIDS-related causes since its discovery in 1981. Roughly 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS in 2011 alone.
  5. At the end of 2011, there were 3.3 million children living with HIV around the world.
  6. 70 per cent of all people living with HIV (24.7 million) live in sub-Saharan Africa, including 91% of the world’s HIV-positive children.
  7. Gay and bisexual men of all races are the most radically affected by HIV in the US.
  8. Most people living with or at risk of contracting HIV do not have access to prevention, care, or treatment. As of 2014, there is no cure for the virus.
  9. In 2007, approximately 74% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were in males and 26% in females.
  10. Every 9.5 minutes someone is diagnosed with HIV.