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From history to meaning, everything you need to know about the day

World AIDS Vaccine Day or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is observed globally on May 18 to highlight the need for a safe and effective disease control.

World AIDS Vaccine Day or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is celebrated around the world on May 18. The day is marked to raise awareness of the importance of developing a vaccine to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

The day also recognizes the volunteers, medical professionals and scientists who work tirelessly to bring an effective and safe vaccine to fight HIV.

World AIDS Vaccine Day challenges the international medical community to recognize the need to invest in new and effective technologies that can be a global response to this life-threatening problem.

What is HIV?

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) affects the immune system and does not let the white blood cells (WBC) function properly against any disease, allowing life-threatening infections to thrive.

History of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day:

World HIV Vaccine Awareness Day was first celebrated globally in 1998. The idea for HIV Vaccine Awareness Day took shape from a keynote speech by US President Bill Clinton at Morgan State University on May 18, 1997. Clinton suggested that only a truly effective, preventive HIV vaccine can contain and eradicate the deadly disease. He called on the world to develop an AIDS vaccine within the next decade by making the best use of science and technology.

Since then, World AIDS Vaccine Day has been observed annually on May 18 to mark the anniversary of Clinton’s speech. On this day, various organizations around the world commemorate the day to reiterate preventive measures against AIDS, encourage researchers and ensure the active participation of the general public in this noble campaign.

Meaning of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day:

HIV is a communicable disease and can be contracted through unprotected sex, bodily fluids and sharing needles. It can also be passed to a baby from the mother during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Some early symptoms like flu, fever, and sore throat can be seen a few weeks after infection.

Antiretroviral therapies (ART) can prevent the development of the disease, but no permanent cure has yet been introduced. However, today, effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of HIV enable those infected to live long and healthy lives.

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