World AIDS Day, December 1st, is day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection around the world. At the end of 2015 there was an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is proud to add her voice to the worldwide conversation and support this year’s theme: “ACT AGAINST AIDS”. The World AIDS campaign will focus on “Zero AIDS related deaths” which signals a government call to action, as well as a push toward greater access to treatment.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV is a fragile virus that cannot live for very long outside the body. As a result, the virus is not transmitted through day-to-day activities such as shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. Persons cannot become infected from a toilet seat, drinking fountain, doorknob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets. You also cannot get HIV from mosquitoes. HIV is transmitted in 3 main ways:
- Having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with someone infected with HIV
- Sharing needles and syringes with someone infected with HIV
- Being exposed (fetus or infant) to HIV before or during birth
For additional resources and information on transmission, prevention, and HIV testing go to: http://www.cdc.gov/
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