December 1st is observed as World Aids Day. This day aims to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and also lend support to the people living with it. According to reports by UNAIDS, worldwide about 36.9 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in the year 2017 and out of these, 1.8 million were children. Moreover, approximately 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2017. World AIDS Day 2018: What’s The Difference Between HIV and AIDS?

What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, a virus that may lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. It is a dangerous disease mainly because unlike other viruses; one can’t get rid of HIV altogether, even with treatment.AIDS is the last stage of HIV, and when one has AIDS, their immune system has extremely weak, so much so, that it cannot fight off infection and the patient develops specific defining symptoms and ill

What are The Causes of HIV?

  1. Unprotected sex with multiple partners- One of the primary cause contracting HIV can be unprotected sex as by the exchange of fluids via sex can lead to an exchange of HIV. You must use fresh latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex.
  2. Anal sex- Anal sex is said to be riskier than is vaginal sex. You may increase your risk of HIV by having multiple sexual partners.
  3. STI- While any open cut can be an easy way to exchange infection, STIs make it easier. The open sores on your genitals caused by STIs can act as doorways for the virus to enter your body.
  4. Syringes- Used syringes or sharing syringes with someone can increase your chances of also sharing the HIV virus. Even a droplet is enough to contaminate your blood.
  5. Uncircumcision- Various studies have proven that circumcision lowers the chances of contracting HIV.
  6. Blood transfusions- Blood transfusion can easily infect people with HIV if the blood is not screened before the transfusion takes place.
  7. Pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. If the mother is infected with the HIV virus, there is a possibility that they can pass the virus on to their babies.

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However, the people living with HIV are even subject to unnecessary discrimination. Due to low awareness sometimes HIV patients are treated worse than untouchables in our country. Many myths surround HIV. You must know that one cannot be infected with HIV via hugging, dancing, shaking hands or kissing. HIV isn't also spread by water, insect bite or air.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 29, 2018 06:47 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website