Your answers to sexual and reproductive
An initiative of CyberSansar & Health Support Systems for Youth Awareness
What is HIV/AIDS
Why is HIV/AIDS dangerous?
ORIGIN OF HIV/AIDS
The Different Stages of HIV Infection
Where do opportunistic infections
and cancers occur?
What does 'safe sex' mean?
What is 'safer sex'?
Is kissing risky?
Can anything 'create' HIV?
Is there a cure?
HISTORY OF HIV AIDS IN NEPAL AND ITS SITUATION
HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?
HOW CAN HIV BE TESTED?
ABOUT RED RIBBON
WORLD AIDS DAY
Dr. Bishal Dhakal
Special Thanks to My team (Preity, Asish)in Cybersansar.com
Information Gathered from UNAIDS.org,AVERT.org,ncasc.org.np
Total no of people infected till date in Nepal is 8073, clients
of sex workers are the highest amongst the infected one, second
comes the IDU Intravenous drug Users. This is some of the data that
is shown in our society and its time for us to be aware about HIV/AIDS.
Nepali population is considered to be in concentric epidemic zone
and we have above 60,000 infected populations according to recent
studies and surveys.
WHAT IS HIV/AIDS?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that causes AIDS
(Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), a health condition in which
a person is affected by a series of diseases because of poor immunity.
HIV by itself is not an illness and does not instantly lead to AIDS.
There is no way of knowing whether just looking at them infects
someone. An HIV-infected person can lead a healthy life for several
years before developing AIDS. However, during this period, he or
she can pass the virus to others.
AIDS is a health condition where the body’s immune system is gradually
destroyed following an HIV infection. Over a period of time, the
immune system weakens and the body loses its natural ability to
fight against diseases. Eventually the infected person may lose
weight and become ill with diseases like persistent severe diarrhea,
fever, skin diseases, pneumonia, TB or tumors. At this stage, he
or she has now developed AIDS
Why is HIV dangerous?
The immune system is a group of cells and organs that protect your
body by fighting the disease. The human immune system usually finds
and kills viruses fairly quickly.
So if the body's immune system attacks and kills viruses, what's
Different viruses attack different parts of the body - some may
attack the skin, and some to the lungs, and so on. The common cold
is caused by a virus. What makes HIV so dangerous is that it attacks
the immune system itself - the very thing that would normally get
rid of a virus. It particularly attacks a special type of immune
system cell known as a CD4 lymphocyte.
HIV has a number of tricks that help it to evade the body's defenses,
including very rapid mutation. This means that once HIV has taken
hold, the immune system can never fully get rid of it.There isn't
any way to tell just by looking if someone's been infected by HIV.
However, a blood test can detect infection from a few weeks after
the virus first entered the body. A person infected with HIV may
look and feel perfectly well for many years and may not know that
they are infected. But as the person's immune system weakens they
become increasingly vulnerable to illnesses, many of which they
would previously have fought off easily.
Virus and introduction:
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Like all viruses, HIV
cannot grow or reproduce on its own. In order to make new copies
of itself it must infect the cells of a living organism.
HIV belongs to a special class of viruses called retroviruses. Within
this class, HIV is placed in the subgroup of lenti viruses. Other
lenti viruses include SIV, FIV, Visna and CAEV, which cause diseases
in monkeys, cats, sheep and goats.
What does HIV look
Outside of a human cell, HIV exists as roughly spherical particles
(sometimes called virions). The surface of each particle is studded
with lots of little spikes.
An HIV particle is around 100-150 billionths of a meter in diameter.
That's about the same as:
• 0.1 microns
• 4 millionths of an inch
• one twentieth of the length of an E. coli bacterium
• one seventieth of the diameter of a human CD4+ white blood cell.
Unlike most bacteria, HIV particles are much too small to be seen
through an ordinary microscope. However they can be seen clearly
with an electron microscope.
The structure of HIV
HIV particles surround themselves with a coat of fatty material
known as the viral envelope (or membrane). Projecting from this
are around 72 little spikes, which are formed from the proteins
gp120 and gp41. Just below the viral envelope is a layer called
the matrix, which is made from the protein p17.
The viral core (or capsid) is usually bullet-shaped and is made
from the protein p24. Inside the core are three enzymes required
for HIV replication called reverse transcriptase, integrase and
protease. Also held within the core is HIV's genetic material, which
consists of two identical strands of RNA.
What is RNA?
Almost all organisms, including most viruses, store their genetic
material on long strands of DNA. Retroviruses are the exception
because their genes are composed of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid).
RNA has a very similar structure to DNA. However, small differences
between the two molecules mean that HIV's replication process is
a bit more complicated than that of most other viruses.
How many genes does HIV have?
HIV has just nine genes (compared to more than 500 genes in a bacterium,
and around 20,000-25,000 in a human). Three of the HIV genes, called
gag, pol and env, contain information needed to make structural
proteins for new virus particles. The other six genes, known as
tat, rev, nef, vif, vpr and vpu, code for proteins that control
the ability of HIV to infect a cell, produce new copies of virus,
or cause disease.
At either end of each strand of RNA is a sequence called the long
terminal repeat, which helps to control HIV replication.
How does HIV replicate?
HIV can only replicate inside human cells. The process typically
begins when a virus particle bumps into a cell that carries on its
surface a special protein called CD4. The spikes on the surface
of the virus particle stick to the CD4 and allow the viral envelope
to fuse with the cell membrane. The contents of the HIV particle
are then released into the cell, leaving the envelope behind. Reverse
Transcription and Integration
Once inside the cell, the HIV enzyme reverse transciptase converts
the viral RNA into DNA, which is compatible with human genetic material.
This DNA is transported to the cell's nucleus, where it is spliced
into the human DNA by the HIV enzyme integrase. Once integrated,
the HIV DNA is known as provirus.
Transcription and Translation
HIV provirus may lie dormant within a cell for a long time. But
when the cell becomes activated, it treats HIV genes in much the
same way as human genes. First it converts them into messenger RNA
(using human enzymes). Then the messenger RNA is transported outside
the nucleus, and is used as a blueprint for producing new HIV proteins
Assembly, Budding and Maturation
Among the strands of messenger RNA produced by the cell are complete
copies of HIV genetic material. These gather together with newly
made HIV proteins and enzymes to form new viral particles, which
are then released from the cell. The enzyme protease plays a vital
role at this stage of HIV's life cycle by chopping up long strands
of protein into smaller pieces, which are used to construct mature
The newly matured HIV particles are ready to infect another cell
and begin the replication process all over again. In this way the
virus quickly spreads through the human body. And once a person
is infected, they can pass HIV on to others in their bodily fluids.
ORIGIN OF HIV/AIDS
AIDS was first reportedjune 5,1981, when the U.S Centers
For Disease Control & Prevention recorded a cluster of Pneumocystics
Carinii Pneumonia(now classified as Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia)
in five homosexual men in Los Angeles. Originally dubbed GRID, orGay-Related
Immune Dficiency, health authorities soon realized that nearly half
of the people identified with the syndrome were not homosexual men.
In 1982, the CDC introduced the term AIDS to describe the newly
Three of the earliest known instances of HIV infection are as follows:
1. A plasma sample taken in 1959 from an adult male living in what
is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2. HIV found in tissue samples from a 15 year old African-American
teenager who died in St. Louis in 1969.
3. HIV found in tissue samples from a Norwegian sailor who died
Two species of HIV infect humans: HIV-1 and HIV-1 is more virulent
and more easily transmitted. HIV-1 is the source of the majority
of HIV infections throughout the world, while HIV-2 is not as easily
transmitted and is largely confined to West Africa. Both HIV-1 and
HIV-2 are of primate origin. The origin of HIV-1 is the Central
Common Chimpanzee(Pan troglodytes troglodytes) found in southernCameroon.It
is established that HIV-2 originated from theSooty Magabay (Cercocebus
atys), an Old World
Monkey of Guinea Bissau, Gabon, and Cameroon.
Most experts believe that HIV probably transferred to humans as
a result of direct contact with primates, for instance during hunting
or butchery.A more controversial theory known as the OPV AIDS hypothesis
suggests that the AIDS epidemic was inadvertently started in the
late 1950s in the Belgian Congo by Hilary Koprowski's research into
a polio vaccine. According to scientific consensus, this scenario
is not supported by the available evidence.
A small minority of scientists and activists question
the connection between HIV and AIDS, the existence of HIV itself,
or the validity of current testing and treatment methods. These
claims are considered baseless by the vast majority of the scientific
community. The medical community argues that so-called "AIDS
dissidents" selectively ignore evidence in favor of HIV's role
in AIDS and irresponsibly pose a threat to public health by discouraging
HIV testing and proven treatments.
Causation, has resulted in inaccurate diagnoses, psychological terror,
toxic treatments, and a AIDS dissidents assert that the current
mainstream approach to AIDS, based on HIV squandering of public
funds.Dissident views have been widely rejected, and are considered
pseudoscience by the mainstream scientific community.
The Different Stages
of HIV Infection
HIV infects cells in the immune system and the central nervous system.
The main type of cell that HIV infects is the T helper lymphocyte.
These cells play a crucial role in the immune system, by coordinating
the actions of other immune system cells. A large reduction in the
number of T helper cells seriously weakens the immune system.
HIV infects the T helper cell because it has the protein CD4 on
its surface, which HIV uses to attach itself to the cell before
gaining entry. This is why the T helper cell is sometimes referred
to as a CD4+ lymphocyte. Once it has found its way into a cell,
HIV produces new copies of itself, which can then go on to infect
Over time, HIV infection leads to a severe reduction in the number
of T helper cells available to help fight disease. The process usually
takes several years.
HIV infection can generally be broken down into four distinct stages:
primary infection, clinically asymptomatic stage, symptomatic HIV
infection, and progression from HIV to AIDS.
STAGE 1: Primary
This stage of infection lasts for a few weeks and
is often accompanied by a short flu-like illness. In up to about
20% of people the symptoms are serious enough to consult a doctor,
but the diagnosis of HIV infection is frequently missed.
During this stage there is a large amount of HIV in the peripheral
blood and the immune system begins to respond to the virus by producing
HIV antibodies and cytotoxic lymphocytes. This process is known
as seroconversion. If an HIV antibody test is done before seroconversion
is complete then it may not be positive.
STAGE 2 : Clinically
This stage lasts for an average of ten years and,
as its name suggests, is free from major symptoms, although there
may be swollen glands. The level of HIV in the peripheral blood
drops to very low levels but people remain infectious and HIV antibodies
are detectable in the blood, so antibody tests will show a positive
Research has shown that HIV is not dormant during this stage, but
is very active in the lymph nodes. A test is available to measure
the small amount of HIV that escapes the lymph nodes. This test
which measures HIV RNA (HIV genetic material) is referred to as
the viral load test, and it has an important role in the treatment
of HIV infection.
STAGE 3: Symptomatic
Over time the immune system becomes severely damaged
by HIV. This is thought to happen for three main reasons:
• The lymph nodes and tissues become damaged or 'burnt out' because
of the years of activity;
• HIV mutates and becomes more pathogenic, in other words stronger
and more varied, leading to more T helper cell destruction;
• The body fails to keep up with replacing the T helper cells that
As the immune system fails, so symptoms develop. Initially many
of the symptoms are mild, but as the immune system deteriorates
the symptoms worsen.
Where do opportunistic
infections and cancers occur?
Symptomatic HIV infection is mainly caused by the
emergence of opportunistic infections and cancers that the immune
system would normally prevent. These can occur in almost all the
body systems, but common examples are featured in the table below.
As the table below indicates, symptomatic HIV infection is often
characterised by multi-system disease. Treatment for the specific
infection or cancer is often carried out, but the underlying cause
is the action of HIV as it erodes the immune system. Unless HIV
itself can be slowed down the symptoms of immune suppression will
continue to worsen.
System Examples of Infection/Cancer
Respiratory system Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) Tuberculosis
(TB) Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS)
Gastro-intestinal system Cryptosporidiosis Candida Cytomegolavirus
(CMV) Isosporiasis Kaposi's Sarcoma
Central/peripheral Nervous system HIV Cytomegolavirus Toxoplasmosis
Cryptococcosis Non Hodgkin's lymphoma Varicella Zoster Herpes simplex
Skin Herpes simplex Kaposi's sarcoma Varicella Zoster
Find out more about opportunistic infections.
STAGE 4: Progression
from HIV to AIDS
As the immune system becomes more and more damaged
the illnesses that occur become more and more severe leading eventually
to an AIDS diagnosis.
At present in the UK an AIDS diagnosis is confirmed if a person
with HIV develops one or more of a specific number of severe opportunistic
infections or cancers. In the US, someone may also be diagnosed
with AIDS if they have a very low count of T helper cells in their
blood. It is possible for someone to be very ill with HIV but not
have an AIDS diagnosis.
WHO clinical staging of HIV disease in adults and adolescents (2006
In resource-poor communities, medical facilities are sometimes poorly
equipped, and it is not possible to use CD4 and viral load test
results to determine the right time to begin treatment. The World
Health Organization has therefore developed a staging system for
HIV disease based on clinical symptoms.
Clinical Stage I:
• Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy
Clinical Stage II:
• Moderate unexplained* weight loss (under 10% of presumed or measured
• Recurrent respiratory tract infections (sinusitis, tonsillitis,
otitis media, pharyngitis)
• Herpes zoster
• Angular chelitis
• Recurrent oral ulceration
• Papular pruritic eruptions
• Seborrhoeic dermatitis
• Fungal nail infections
Clinical Stage III:
• Unexplained* severe weight loss (over 10% of presumed or
measured body weight)**
• Unexplained* chronic diarrhoea for longer than one month
• Unexplained* persistent fever (intermittent or constant for longer
than one month)
• Persistent oral candidiasis
• Oral hairy leukoplakia
• Pulmonary tuberculosis
• Severe bacterial infections (e.g. pneumonia, empyema, pyomyositis,
bone or joint infection, meningitis, bacteraemia)
• Acute necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis, gingivitis or periodontitis
• Unexplained* anaemia (below 8 g/dl), neutropenia (below 0.5 billion/l)
and/or chronic thrombocytopenia (below 50 billion/l)
Clinical Stage IV:***
• HIV wasting syndrome
• Pneumocystis pneumonia
• Recurrent severe bacterial pneumonia
• Chronic herpes simplex infection (orolabial, genital or anorectal
of more than one month’s duration or visceral at any site)
• Oesophageal candidiasis (or candidiasis of trachea, bronchi or
• Extrapulmonary tuberculosis
• Kaposi sarcoma
• Cytomegalovirus infection (retinitis or infection of other organs)
• Central nervous system toxoplasmosis
• HIV encephalopathy
• Extrapulmonary cryptococcosis including meningitis
• Disseminated non-tuberculous mycobacteria infection
• Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
• Chronic cryptosporidiosis
• Chronic isosporiasis
• Disseminated mycosis (extrapulmonary histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis)
• Recurrent septicaemia (including non-typhoidal Salmonella)
• Lymphoma (cerebral or B cell non-Hodgkin)
• Invasive cervical carcinoma
• Atypical disseminated leishmaniasis
• Symptomatic HIV-associated nephropathy or HIV-associated cardiomyopathy
Around the world, there are a number of different
myths about HIV and AIDS. Here are some of the more common ones
'You would have to drink a bucket of infected saliva to become infected
yourself' . . . Yuck! This is a typical myth. HIV is found in saliva,
but in quantities too small to infect someone. If you drink a bucket
of saliva from a positive person, you won't become infected. There
has been only one recorded case of HIV transmission via kissing,
out of all the many millions of kisses. In this case, both partners
had extremely badly bleeding gums.
'Sex with a virgin can cure HIV' . . . This myth is common in some
parts of Africa, and it is totally untrue. The myth has resulted
in many rapes of young girls and children by HIV+ men, who often
infect their victims. Rape won't cure anything - and is a serious
crime all around the world.
'It only happens to gay men / black people / young people, etc'
. . . This myth is false. Most people who become infected with HIV
didn't think it'd happen to them, and were wrong.
'HIV can pass through latex' . . . Some people have been spreading
rumours that the virus is so small that it can pass through 'holes'
in latex used to make condoms. This is untrue. Latex blocks HIV,
as well as sperm - preventing pregnancy, too.
What does 'safe
Safe sex refers to sexual activities which do not involve any blood
or sexual fluid from one person getting into another person's body.
If two people are having safe sex then, even if one person is infected,
there is no possibility of the other person becoming infected. Examples
of safe sex are cuddling, mutual masturbation, 'dry' (or 'clothed')
sex . . .
In many parts of the world, particularly the USA, people are taught
that the best form of safe sex is no sex - also called 'sexual abstinence'.
Abstinence isn't a form of sex at all - it involves avoiding all
sexual activity. Usually, young people are taught that they should
abstain sexually until they marry, and then remain faithful to their
partner. This is a good way for someone to avoid HIV infection,
as long as their husband or wife is also completely faithful and
doesn't infect them.
What is 'safer sex'?
Safer sex is used to refer to a range of sexual activities
that hold little risk of HIV infection.
Safer sex is often taken to mean using a condom for sexual intercourse.
Using a condom makes it very hard for the virus to pass between
people when they are having sexual intercourse. A condom, when used
properly, acts as a physical barrier that prevents infected fluid
getting into the other person's body.
Is kissing risky?
Kissing someone on the cheek, also known as social kissing,
does not pose any risk of HIV transmission.
Deep or open mouthed kissing is considered a very low risk activity
for transmission of HIV. This is because HIV is present in saliva
but only in very minute quantities, insufficient to lead to HIV
There has only been one documented instance of HIV infection as
a result of kissing out of all the millions of cases recorded. This
was as a result of infected blood getting into the mouth of the
other person during open mouthed kissing, and in this instance both
partners had seriously bleeding gums.
Can anything 'create' HIV?
No. Unprotected sex, for example, is only risky if one partner is
infected with the virus. If your partner is not carrying HIV, then
no type of sex or sexual activity between you is going to cause
you to become infected - you can't 'create' HIV by having unprotected
anal sex, for example.
You also can't become infected through masturbation. Nothing you
do on your own is going to give you HIV - it can only be transmitted
from another person who already has the virus.
Is there a cure?
Worryingly, surveys show that many people think that there's
a 'cure' for AIDS - which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take
risks that they otherwise shouldn't. These people are wrong, though
- there is still no cure for AIDS.
There is antiretroviral medication which slows the progression from
HIV to AIDS, and which can keep some people healthy for many years.
In some cases, the antiretroviral medication seems to stop working
after a number of years, but in other cases people can recover from
AIDS and live with HIV for a very long time. But they have to take
powerful medication every day of their lives, sometimes with very
unpleasant side effects.
There is still no way to cure HIV, and at the moment the only way
to remain safe is not to become infected.
HISTORY OF HIV AIDS
IN NEPAL AS WELL AS ITS SITUATION
In 1988, HMG/Nepal launched the first National AIDS Prevention
and Control Programme. This programme, known as the Short-Term Plan
for AIDS Prevention and Control, formed the basis for the First
Medium Term Plan 1990-92. This programme was externally reviewed
in December 1992 and on the basis of the recommendations made during
the review, the Second Medium Term Plan for AIDS Prevention and
Control in Nepal was formulated covering the years 1993-97.
In 1993, HMG/Nepal accepted the need for multi-sectoral involvement
for AIDS and STD control and different focal points were appointed
in various sectoral ministries.
HMG/Nepal adopted a national policy for AIDS prevention, with 12
key policy statements, in 1995. However, due to frequent political
changes neither the National AIDS Coordination Committee, nor the
multisectoral coordination and cooperation was fully functional.
Based on the National Policy, a “Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS
in Nepal”, covering 1997 to 2001 was developed and adopted. It tried
to operationalize the national policy and to define key activities
for each policy objective. Although the strategic plan contained
a number of activities aimed at prevention of a fast spread of the
epidemic, only few of them were actually implemented. The strategic
plan sought to broaden the response to other sectors beyond the
health ministry and to integrate HIV/AIDS concerns within these
sectors. Factors relating to mobility of populations, urbanization,
heavy labour migration to areas where huge infrastructure programmes
are being undertaken, the open border between Nepal and India and
poverty have been recognized as casual factors for the spread of
the infection in the country.
Recently Nepal established a “National AIDS Council” chaired by
the Prime Minister. The Council with representation from government,
non-governmental organisations, private sector and civil society
will take the lead in policy making and will advocate for multi-sectoral
participation in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nepal.
HOW CAN HIV BE PREVENTED?
There is no vaccine or medicine to protect people against getting
infected with HIV and there is no cure available. The only certain
way to avoid HIV/AIDS is to prevent getting infected with HIV.
• Sex without penetration (involving stimulation and pleasure through
caressing, hugging, kissing, and massaging different parts of the
body) can decrease the risk of getting infected with HIV.
• Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can increase a person’s
chance of getting HIV through sexual contact. So, it is necessary
to treat STIs as soon as an infection is suspected
• By always using a good quality latex condom correctly during
sex that involves penetration, people can protect themselves from
HIV. Whenever necessary only water-based lubricants should be used.
People allergic to latex can use polyurethane condoms.
• If one or both of the couple know that they are HIV positive,
they should seek advice and counseling before they plan a pregnancy
to discuss the risks of their baby becoming infected with HIV, and
get advice on breast feeding.
• Blood that has been donated should be tested for HIV infection
and only non-infected blood used for transfusion.
• Sterile, never-used needles and syringes should always be used,
and used only once.
• The safest of all is either abstain from having sex or to be
in a stable relationship where both partners are free of HIV and
neither has other sex partners or uses IV drugs
HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?
HIV is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids
and breastmilk. It is passed from one person to another only in
very specific ways. These are:
• Infected Blood: If blood from a person infected by HIV gets into
the blood stream of another person, it will also infect the other
person. Infection may occur during blood transfusions after an accident,
duringa surgery, after childbirth, or other medical treatments
• Mother To Child: If an HIV positive woman becomes pregnant, the
HIV virus can pass from her blood (through the placenta) into the
growing baby during pregnancy or during birth. Breast milk can also
• Unprotected Sex: A person can get infected with HIV through unprotected
sexual intercourse (means both vaginal and anal) with an infected
person. The virus can be present either in an infected person’s
blood, semen or vaginal secretions and enters the body of the sexual
partner through the thin skin of their sex organs, mouth or anus,
or through sores or cuts on their mouth, hands or body.
• Sharing Of Needles: If a person uses the needle or syringe used
by an HIV infected person, for injecting drugs or medicines, for
drawing blood or for piercing, he/she can get infected. Contaminated
instruments used for piercing the skin such as tattooing and acupuncture
also carry a risk of infection.
• Unsterile Equipment: Surgical instruments like syringes and scalpels
used on an HIV infected person can transmit the infection if used
again without proper sterilization.
It is not possible to become infected with
HIV through :
• sharing crockery and cutlery
• insect / animal bites
• touching, hugging or shaking hands
• eating food prepared by someone with HIV
• toilet seats
HOW CAN HIV BE TESTED?
An HIV antibody blood test can determine whether a person is HIV
positive. The most commonly used test is Elisa. These tests should
be conducted in a recognized institution or by a qualified health
• The test should be completely confidential.
• Counseling beforehand is important to help weigh the advantages
and disadvantages of the test.
• Post test counseling is important to help cope if results show
ABOUT RED RIBBON
The red ribbon is used internationally as a symbol of the fight
against AIDS which first came to prominence at the 1991 Tony Awards.
The red ribbon has been a powerful psychological component of AIDS,
although it has recently declined in popularity.
Caucus in 1991. This extraordinary collaboration believed it was
important to: 1.) remain anonymous as individuals and to credit
the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus as a whole in the creation of the
[Red] Ribbon Project and not to list any individual as the “creator”
of the [Red] Ribbon Project; 2.) keep the image copyright free,
so that no individual or organization would profit from the use
of the red ribbon; 3.) The Red Ribbon should be used as a conscious
raising symbol, not as a commercial or trademark tool.
The artists who formed the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus wished to
create a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living
with AIDS and their caregivers. Inspired by the yellow ribbons honoring
American soldiers serving in the Gulf war, the color red was The
[Red] Ribbon Project was created by the New York-based Visual AIDS
Artists chosen for its, "connection to blood and the idea of
passion -- not only anger, but love, like a valentine." First
worn publicly by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, the ribbon
soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness,
becoming a politically correct fashion accessory on the lapels of
celebrities. The Red Ribbon continues to be a powerful force in
the fight to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and in the lobbying
efforts to increase funding for AIDS services and research.
In a 1991 weekly column for Outweek magazine, media columnist Michael
Goff asked where the pink ribbons were for those dead, dying, and
fighting AIDS in comparison to the outsized response of yellow ribbons
in support of the first Gulf War which resulted in few American
casualties. Frank Moore and Patrick O'Connell of Visual Aids called
Goff to ask if they might take it on, and went on to create and
build the successful Red Ribbon Project.
WORLD AIDS DAY
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is
dedicated to raising awareness of the global AIDS pandemic caused
by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million
people, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded
history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment
and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed
an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in
2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.
The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit
of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since
then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations
and charities around the world.
From 1988 to 2004, the World AIDS Day was organized by UNAIDS, who,
after consultation with other organizations, chose a theme. In 2005
UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS Day to The World
AIDS Campaign (WAC), an independent organisation. For 2005, they
chose Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise as the theme for World AIDS days
through to 2010. This theme is not specific to World AIDS Day but
also to the work WAC does throughout the year. The student element
of the campaign, the Student Stop AIDS Campaign (SSAC), is a key
part of increasing awareness among young people across the UK.
The THEME FOR WORLD AIDS DAY
World AIDS Day was originally organised by UNAIDS,
who chose the theme after consultation with other organisations.
However, in 2005 UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS
Day to an independent organisation known as The World AIDS Campaign
The WAC’s slogan for their work is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise",
which is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health
authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have
been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This campaign will run
until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each
This year's theme, "accountability", is designed to inspire
citizens across the globe to hold their political leaders accountable
for the promises they have made on AIDS. Targets such as the All
by 2010 pledge made by world leaders last year, and the Millennium
Development Goal to halt and reverse the spread of AIDS by 2015,
are in serious danger of being sidelined or ignored, and much more
needs to be done to ensure that these critical promises are kept.
By supporting a broad movement of civil society organisations in
their campaigning around this theme, the World AIDS Campaign hope
to develop a sense of joint identity and common purpose and ensure
that more people are made aware of the AIDS epidemic this year than
AVERT is raising awareness of this year's "accountability"
theme by turning the borders and menus on our site black. To find
out more about this campaign, please visit our Why Black? page or
read our World AIDS Day press release.
World AIDS Day themes over the years have included:
2006 - Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise - Accountability
Some of the news headline that are there in today newspaper:
Study predicts 6.5 million AIDS deaths per year by 2030
Nearly 40 million now living with HIV worldwide says UNAIDS
Humanitarian crisis worsens in Zimbabwe
Speedy condoms could take South Africa by storm
Visit the site for another theme based information.