World AIDS Day 2023: Top Facts About HIV/AIDS You Must Know

World AIDS Day 2023: December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day. Read here to know more about HIV/AIDS here.

World AIDS Day 2023: Top Facts About HIV/AIDS You Must Know

World AIDS Day 2023: HIV/AIDS is a lifelong condition which cannot be cured


  • Undiagnosed HIV can lead to AIDS
  • HIV/AIDS cannot be treated
  • The condition kills body's immunity, making one unable to fight sickness

World AIDS Day 2023: Every year, December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day. This day is looked at as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite for fighting against HIV and to commemorate those who have lost their lives from AIDS-related illness. World AIDS day was founded in 1988 and was the first ever global health day. According to World Health Organization, 37.9 million people live with HIV (end of 2018). Of these, only 79% received testing, 62% received treatment and 53% were able to suppress HIV with reduced risk of infecting others. This success can be attributed to endless hard work of community health workers, members of HIV networks. On World AIDS Day 2023, WHO aims at highlighting the theme 'Let communities lead.'

World AIDS Day 2023: What you should know

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus which causes damage to the immune system. The immune system is responsible for helping the body fight infections. If HIV goes untreated, it can kill CD4 cells, a kind of immune cells. The more number of CD4 cells HIV kills, the more you are at risk of getting different types of infections.

1. HIV can be transmitted through breast milk, vaginal and rectal fluids, blood and semen. It is a lifelong condition which cannot be cured. However, with proper treatment and management, a person can live with HIV for many years.

2. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that can develop in people with HIV. AIDS is considered to be the most advanced stage of HIV. However, just because a person has HIV, it doesn't mean that s/he will develop AIDS too. As mentioned above, HIV kills CD4 cells. In healty adults, CD4 cells range from a count of 500 to 1500 per cubic millimetere. A person with HIV whose CD4 count falls below 200 per cubic millimetre will be diagnosed with AIDS.

3. You can also be diagnosed with AIDS if you are HIV positive and develop an infection or cancer that is otherwise rare in people with HIV.

4. An HIV which is untreated can develop into AIDS within a decade. AIDS cannot be cured and the average life expectancy after being diagnosed with AIDS is three years. Life expectancy can be shorter in case a person develops some infection or any other opportunistic illness.

5. However, AIDS treatment with antiretroviral drugs can prevent development of AIDS.


Being infected with HIV/AIDS severely affects immunity and body's ability to fight diseases
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Know The Various Ways By Which HIV Can Be Transmitted

World AIDS Day: Signs and symptoms you must know

HIV symptoms are usually dependent on the stage of infection. In most cases, HIV tends to be most infectious during the first few months of catching the infection. Many people infected with HIV remain unaware if they are HIV positive or not until the later stages.

During the first few weeks after initial infection, an HIV positive person will experience flu-like symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Sore throat

As the infection progresses, the immune system weakens and causes the following symptoms

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea

Also read: List Of Top AIDS Treatment Centers In India

If HIV goes untreated for a long time, it leads to following symptoms:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Severe bacterial infections
  • Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Cryptococcal meningitis
  • HIV Transmission

Untreated HIV can lead to cancer
Photo Credit: iStock

Exchange of body fluids it the most common mode of HIV transmission. HIV can be transmitted through Blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. The infection can also be transmitted from a mother to her child during pregnancy and deliver.

HIV does not get transmitted through

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Shaking hands
  • Sharing personal objects
  • Sharing food or water

HIV/AIDS: Know the risk factors

  1. Having unprotected sex or having multiple sex partners can put you at risk of HIV
  2. Unprotected vaginal or anal sex can also put you at risk of HIV/AIDS
  3. Reusing of injections or receiving infected blood transfusions or tissue transplantation can put you at risk HIV
  4. Sharing contaminated needles, syringes, injecting equipment and drug solutions when infecting drugs can increase risk of HIV
  5. Suffering from any other sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhoeic, syphilis and bacterial vaginosis can increase risk of HIV/AIDS

This World AIDS, let's pledge to spread as much awareness about HIV as possible and make efforts to reduce incidence of this deadly infection.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.