ISLAMABAD: The United Nations' (UN) World AIDS Day was observed across the world including Pakistan to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic.
The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.
Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now.
It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.
World AIDS Day is the focal point of the World AIDS Campaign, which is active all year round. On December 1, there are many health education campaigns that promote the day. Anti-discrimination activities are also launched on or around this date.
Many people hold events on World AIDS Day to remember people died of AIDS-related conditions. One example is an AIDS Memorial Quilt project, which allows friends and family members of a deceased AIDS sufferer to construct quilt panels, which are then exhibited throughout the United States.
AIDS stands for "acquired immune deficiency syndrome" or "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome" and denotes a condition, which results from the damage done by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) to the immune system. The condition was first identified in 1981 and the name "AIDS" was first introduced on July 27, 1982.
HIV can only be transmitted between people through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the blood stream with a bodily fluid. Hence, there has been a lot of stigma around the spread of HIV and people living with HIV and AIDS.
It has been estimated that around 33 million people around the world have been infected with HIV and that around two million people die from AIDS related conditions each year.
On October 27, 1988, the UN General Assembly officially recognized that the World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988, to be World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day has also been observed on this date each year since then.