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Backgrounder: The World AIDS Day

11-30-2011 16:23 BJT Special Report:World AIDS Day 2011 |

BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Dec. 1 this year is the 23rd World AIDS Day, with the theme of "Universal Access and Human Rights," the same as that of last year, which calls for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and support.

The World AIDS Day falls on Dec. 1 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the disease. It is common to hold several events on AIDS topics on this day all over the world.

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by the human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus. This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors.

HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid and breast milk.

This transmission can involve sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids. The average delitescence of HIV virus in the human body is 12 to 13 years.

Ever since it was first recognized in 1981 by American researchers, AIDS has become a worldwide pandemic attracting the attention of the whole world as a major public health hazard and a controversial social issue.

At present, the total fund needed for preventing and treating AIDS across the world each year has increased to over 16 billion U.S. dollars. While AIDS has so far remained incurable, it is nevertheless totally preventable. A healthy lifestyle, especially keeping away from drugs, is the most effective way to prevent this deadly disease.

In June 2001, the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS issued a Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS, pledging a coordinated action plan for all countries to fight the disease with the goal of keeping the AIDS-related death toll less than 900,000 by 2015.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. It offers a moment to reflect and to renew our resolve.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed earlier that the international community should pledge to work together to carry out commitments and set sights on achieving the "three zeros" -- zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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