World AIDS Vaccine Day
Vaccine saves lives; fear endangers them!
Every year on May 18th, World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, highlights the progress accomplished toward producing an HIV/AIDS vaccine. The day has served as a forum for raising awareness about the significance of ongoing research and development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine. The day also provides an opportunity to honor the scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals, and advocates working persistently to achieve this aim. On World AIDS vaccine day 2023, let's take the opportunity to thank all the unseen superheroes involved in developing the AIDS vaccine for humankind.
History of World AIDS Vaccine Day
During a speech at Morgan State University in 1997, President Bill Clinton invited professionals and scientists worldwide to collaborate on developing an AIDS vaccine. He claimed this was the only way to slow its spread and eventually eliminate it. The day was established in 1998 to commemorate the first international AIDS vaccine trial, which took place in 1997. The RV144 experiment, which comprised over 16,000 volunteers, was held in Thailand. The experiment found that combining two vaccines lowered the chance of HIV infection by 31%, making it the first trial to demonstrate HIV protection.
World AIDS Vaccine Day was established due to a resolution passed at the 1997 World AIDS Vaccine Conference in Paris, which asked for an annual day to encourage the continued development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other organizations seeking to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine first organized the day.
Significance of World AIDS Vaccine Day
The development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine is important to eradicating the pandemic since it would give a long-term, cost-effective, and scalable method to prevent new infections. Vaccines have been essential in controlling and eradicating numerous infectious illnesses such as polio, smallpox, and measles. A safe and effective HIV/AIDS vaccine would be a great step forward in the global fight against the disease.
The significance of World AIDS Vaccine Day stems from the continuous efforts to develop a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. This disease has affected millions of lives and continues to harm communities worldwide. Furthermore, the day emphasizes the importance of addressing the social and structural issues contributing to HIV/AIDS spread, such as stigma, discrimination, and a lack of access to healthcare.
Understand The Difference Between HIV And AIDS
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the deadliest virus that induces infection by attacking our immune system. HIV is an infection that disrupts the functioning of the immune system, which reduces the levels of immune cells. In contrast, AIDS( Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a chronic condition that develops due to untreated HIV infection.
Risk Factors Cause HIV Infection
- Using shared HIV-contaminated needles and syringes
- Having unsafe sexual practices
- Having sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, gonorrhea, etc.,
- Receiving HIV-contaminated blood transfusions
- The passing of HIV infection from the mother to the baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Stages Of HIV Infection
On account of World AIDS vaccine day 2023, learn about the different phases of HIV infection, recognize the symptoms earlier, and get treated. HIV is a progressive infectious disease that can develop in three different stages. HIV infection can occur in three different stages, and the final stage is AIDS, where the symptoms worsen due to the depletion of immune cells. Early diagnosis and timely management can prevent further deterioration of your immune system and helps to lead a longer life.
Acute HIV Infection
HIV infection is progressive and can turn into AIDS if untreated at its later stage. At the primary stage of the infection, the person exposed to HIV will present with flu-like symptoms only, which may last only for a few weeks. Acute HIV infection symptoms develop only after 2-4 weeks of contracting the HIV infection. These include,
- Low-grade Fever
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck region
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
- Sore throat
Chronic HIV Infection
In this phase, the virus continues to invade our immune system, destroying the white blood cells by replicating more viral cells. If the treatment is not initiated even at this stage, the severity of the disease gets intensified. The patient can present the following symptomatic indications,
- Difficulty in breathing
- Oral candidiasis
- Multiple episodes of loose stools
- Mild to moderate fever
AIDS- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS is an advanced stage of HIV infection; it takes around 8-10 years for an HIV infection to develop into AIDS. This occurs only when there is a severe decline in immune cells. Because of this reason, the individual becomes more vulnerable to infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, hepatitis infection, HIV related kidney diseases. AIDS can even develop into certain types of HIV-associated cancers, including lymphomas and sarcomas. AIDS-associated symptoms are as follows,
- Fever with chills
- Red or pinkish spots on the skin or inside the mouth
- Chronic diarrhea
- Skin rashes
- Dramatic weight loss
- Memory loss
- Profuse night sweats
- Sores in mouth and genitals
HIV Infection Is Not A Death Sentence
On this World AIDS Vaccine Day 2023, let's educate people to get tested early and to win the fight against AIDS. We will take this day a chance to thank all the health professionals, volunteers, and scientists who are all working jointly to bring out a safe and effective HIV vaccine. And still, we can emphasize the communities about the importance of research in getting the preventive HIV vaccine at the earliest. Follow the preventive measures explained and protect yourself against HIV-AIDS. Together, we can make World AIDS vaccine Day the best-ever day for people living with AIDS.