In recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1st, we’re taking a closer look at what HIV and AIDS are, how HIV is transmitted from person to person, the importance of getting tested and how you can support World AIDS Day this year.
What is HIV & AIDS?
HIV and AIDS are often used interchangeably, but they do differ from one another. HIV is a virus that damages your immune system and weakens your ability to fight off everyday infections. AIDS is the name used for the various serious (and potentially fatal) infections that happen when your immune system is not functioning to the best of its ability due to the HIV virus.
You cannot catch AIDS from someone; however, HIV can be passed from one person to another. In the UK, most HIV cases are caused by someone having sex, without a condom, with someone infected with HIV.* There is currently no cure for HIV, but drugs have been developed, and are taken by many people with the virus, to help them live a long and healthy life.
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day was founded on December 1st 1988, four years after the virus was diagnosed. It became the first-ever global health day in history, and now, it is recognised on the same date every year.
It provides an opportunity for people to show their support to people who are living with HIV today, to raise funds for research, and to educate people about the virus.
To show your support on World AIDS Day, you can order and wear a red ribbon - the universally recognised symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV.
Beyond World AIDS Day, you can continue your support by keeping up to date with developments with the National AIDS Trust, who organise World AIDS Day each year.
HIV & AIDS in Numbers
To give you a little insight into the importance of the continued effort in raising awareness of HIV and AIDS, here are a few statistics**:
- There are 103,800 people in the UK living with AIDS today
- Each year, over 4,450 people in the UK are diagnosed with HIV
- More than 35 million people have died of HIV and AIDS globally
World AIDs day is a stark reminder that HIV isn’t going anywhere, and sadly, the stigma and discrimination against this illness is still very much a reality for lots of people.
HIV Testing at Superdrug
HIV testing is vital, especially if you think you could have HIV or fall into a high-risk category. HIV testing is available on the NHS, and you should be able to access this via your local GP or sexual health clinic.
Alternatively, you can book an instant HIV test through our Superdrug Health Clinics, where a nurse will use a fine needle to prick your finger to collect a small sample of blood. To find out everything you need to know about our in-clinic testing and to book an appointment today, click the button below and follow the link.