The first AIDS case was reported in the summer of 1981 by the Central Disease Control unit of US. Since then the number has climbed to 40.1 million worldwide. The estimated number of people living with HIV is 75,000 in Nepal, but the actual number could be nearly 1,20,000 as many are unaware of their HIV status.

December 1 is marked as ‘World AIDS Day’. The theme for this year is ‘Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise — Accountability’.

What is HIV:

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus which in itself is not an illness. Over time, HIV causes AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). An HIV-infected person can lead a healthy life for several years before s/he develops AIDS.

The virus can only be transmitted through unprotected sex with infected person, sharing needles with an infected person, transfusion of infected blood, from an infected mother to her child as the virus exists only in blood, semen and vaginal fluid in human beings.

For the time being, there is no cure for AIDS, therefore, prevention is the only way of protection.

Treatment:

There is no conclusive treatment for AIDS, however timely treatment of opportunistic infections (which are the main reasons for death of HIV-infected person) can keep one healthy for years. The experience of infected people during the last two decades has shown that HIV/AIDS is not the ‘end of the world’. Those who take care of one’s health,

keeping in mind one’s vulnerability to the disease and have a positive attitude, can lead as normal a life as anyone else.