World AIDS Day: practical ways to support those affected

Every year World AIDS Day (1st December) helps to unite people in the fight against HIV, who are showing their support with those affected by HIV and AIDS.

There are currently over 100,000 people living in the UK who have HIV and, globally, there are another 34 million people who have the virus.

Thankfully, being diagnosed with HIV today means something different to those diagnosed 20 or 30 years ago. This is mainly due to huge advances in treatments available. Today, HIV is no longer is a death sentence, and with the correct treatments, those affected can have long and healthy lives.

Facing the stigma

One of the major problems that people living with HIV face today is the attitudes of others. The discrimination and stigma associated with HIV do still occur, but it has improved over time. There are now laws to protect people with HIV, and with so more known about the condition, over time people are slowly becoming more understanding of the condition. This is why awareness days such as this are so important.

What is HIV and AIDS?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, and weakens the body's ability to fight infections and disease. There is no cure, but the treatments available can hugely decrease the rate and number of people progressing to the final step of the HIV infection (AIDS). AIDS is where your body is no longer able to fight life- threatening infections.

With effective antiretroviral treatments now available, the HIV virus can be stopped from replicating, allowing the immune system to repair itself. Usually, multiple medications are taken daily to reduce the problems of the virus becoming resistant to medications. With the correct treatment however, the majority of individuals can be stopped from developing AIDS.

Read on to find out how to help someone diagnosed with HIV.


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