AIDS Awareness Month
December is AIDS Awareness Month, and this year, World AIDS Day on December 1st kicked off with the goal of “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” Although HIV infections and AIDS diagnoses have been declining, awareness is extremely important as “more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, but 1 in 7 of them don’t know it” according to HIV.gov.
The AIDS epidemic came to light in 1981, when in June, five young, gay men who, previously, had been healthy, were experiencing a rare lung infection, as well as other unusual infections, indicating to doctors their immune systems were not functioning properly. As their stories were published, doctors from all over the United States contacted the CDC with similar cases. By the end of that year, 270 cases were reported, and 121 of them had passed away. The term “AIDS” was used by the CDC to describe the syndrome in September 1982.
Since then, researchers have been working on finding ways to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and to treat those who are already infected. While the number of infected individuals in some groups has declined, there is still much work to be done. Increasing awareness of HIV and AIDS is imperative in order to support those living with the disease, as well as help prevent new infections and continue efforts of finding treatments and, ultimately, a cure.
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