AIDS is perhaps the most serious public health problem of our times. First discovered in the 1980’s, AIDS is thought to have spread extensively in the 1970’s. All in all, about 33.4 million people in the world are infected with HIV today. This is a world in which no society, and no group within society, can remain immune to AIDS as the epidemic evolves and metamorphoses.
AIDS stands for “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.” Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It weakens the body’s immune system so that is unable to defend itself from disease. HIV is spread through unprotected sex, transfusions, contaminated needles, and from mothers to children during pregnancy, childbirth and/or breast-feeding. Once infected by HIV, victims are infected for LIFE. They will likely succumb to any number of diseases they acquire because of the weakening of their immune system.
In response to growing international concern about the spread of the AIDS epidemic and in recognition of the international character of this disease, the United Nations General Assembly in 1988 declared AIDS to be a Global Pandemic. It decided, in Resolution 43/15, to establish December 1st as World Aids Day.
It was decided that this day should be a time for the peoples of the United Nations to appreciate, understand and acknowledge the danger that AIDS poses to humanity and the extent to which it had spread all over the world. This day was also meant to call on the peoples of the United Nations to show solidarity, support and sympathy for the many victims of AIDS worldwide. World AIDS Day has now become an annual event in most countries. On this day, efforts to combat AIDS are observed, and support is given to the continuing fight against this virus.