More than 35 million people live with HIV worldwide. Despite progress, AIDS continues to kill about 8,000 Americans each year. Over 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV, but almost 1 in 6 don’t know it. Viruses are not alive in the traditional sense. There are two strains of HIV: HIV-1, and HIV-2. The most deadly version is HIV-1. The earliest confirmed case of AIDS in humans comes from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1969. There is some evidence that AIDS made the rounds in Europe following World War II, predicated on a wave of children dying from PCP, a disease which only afflicts those with weakened immune systems.
It’s likely that no one is truly “immune” from HIV/AIDS, there are some people that exhibit a strong resistance. Scientists have discovered at least two different adaptations, one which repels the infection in the first place and another which keeps HIV from developing into AIDS. The former is a genetic mutation found primarily in Scandinavians. The mutation, called CCR5-delta 32, prevents the virus from entering the cells. Research indicates this mutation may have come from Europe’s history of weathering deadly plagues.
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response.
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. At the end of 2011, there were 3.3 million children living with HIV around the world.
Source: un.org | avert.org | cdc.gov