World AIDS Day is Today, December 1st December 1, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Since 1981, an estimated 36 million people across the globe have died of AIDS, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that an additional 35 million people are still living with the disease. Of that 35 million, the WHO believes that approximately 2 million die every year, and approximately 300,000 of them are children. World AIDS Day hopes to reduce AIDS related mortalities and the impact of the disease in general. On December 1, 1988, the first World AIDS Day was held, and, since that day, it has been observed by almost all nations to raise awareness for the disease. Each year, the World AIDS Day campaign focuses on a specific topic. This year’s theme is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” What is HIV/AIDS? HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus spread through body fluids, and it affects the immune system. As time passes, HIV can destroy the cells that would normally fight infections. When this happens, HIV leads to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Without treatment, AIDS-infected individuals will usually survive for only about three years. Once someone with AIDS contracts another illness (which could even be an illness as common as the flu), life expectancy without treatment falls to about a year. People with AIDS need medical treatment to prevent death. How can I help those who may have the disease? Participating in any number of the activities listed on sites like AIDS.gov can help raise awareness of the disease and help those who are suffering from HIV or AIDS. One very easy way to get involved that is suggested by the website is to share videos and photos over social media to raise awareness, a simple method that just takes a few seconds! One of the best pieces of advice given by AIDS.gov and the CDC is to be a friend to whomever you may know with the disease. Living with a virus like HIV/AIDS can be very difficult, and, for many, having a good support team could be one of their most important resources. How can we create an ‘AIDS-free Generation’? The WHO and other supporters of this initiative hope to accomplish this year’s goal through awareness and prevention. World AIDS Day and other special days held throughout the year are designed specifically to help raise awareness, and other ongoing campaigns such as the RED campaign promote this goal as well. For more information on prevention, please visit this page from The National Institutes of Health. What will you do to help raise AIDS awareness for this year’s World AIDS Day? Share your thoughts below!