National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is designated on April 10th. This day is highlighted to educate the public on vital information about the causes, effects and treatments for HIV and AIDS. Events are held across the country to allow professionals to provide information about the disease, speak with young people about transmission and treatment as well as provide testing.
The stigma of this life-threatening disease keeps many people silent for fear of being labeled. April 10th is the day when the silence is broken to dismiss myths and spread the truth. In honor of that, here is some vital information that you can share with the youth in your lives – whether family members, students or young friends.
How does AIDS spread?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a lentivirus which causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This can be a sexually transmitted disease, but it can also be transmitted through improperly screened blood transfusions or due to the sharing of needles during drug use. Bodily fluids such as blood or semen must be directly transferred between two or more people for HIV to spread. It is not known to be transmitted by touch, proximity or actions such as kissing, sneezing or coughing. HIV is not the common cold; it cannot be caught by just sharing space with a person who is HIV positive.
Millions of people worldwide are HIV positive, and the search for better treatment is the focus of hundreds of agencies and the use of millions of dollars. In the United States, HIV is no longer the death sentence that it was in the early stages of recognition. Modern technology, early detection and innovative new antiretroviral drug cocktails are preventing the development of positive status into AIDS. This is not enough, however, as some side effects of these treatments can be harsh, even leading to cardiovascular diseases. Death is still a possible consequence of AIDS and this is why education is necessary.
How do you prevent AIDS?
Preventing the spread of HIV through education on safe-sex practices, clean needles and careful screening processes is the best way to save lives. Many people who are living with HIV/AIDS are struggling with the stigma and this can lead to concealing their status from loved ones. Misunderstanding and a lack of information in those around them can make their lives even more difficult. The primary goal of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is to remove this stigma and break the silence. No disease is a reason for a person to not seek a normal life with the help of modern medicine, and information is the first and most important tool when it comes to rebuilding lives changed by this widespread virus.