world aids dayIn 1988, the United Nations named December 1st World AIDS Day to bring awareness to one of the greatest pandemics of the modern era. Not only was it the first global health day ever celebrated annually, but it was also the first international effort to educate people about the effects of this debilitating and often misunderstood disease.

The first question to get out of the way is: Are HIV and AIDS the same thing?

The answer: No.

“When someone is described as living with HIV, they have the HIV virus in their body. A person is considered to have developed AIDS when the immune system is so weak it can no longer fight off a range of diseases with which it would normally cope.”

People with HIV and AIDS suffer from the disease, certainly, but they also suffer from the enormously pervasive negative stigma of the disease. They face severe prejudice due to the myriad of myths and false “common knowledge” information concerning HIV that is perpetrated all over the world. So today, on World AIDS day, let’s get educated!

Some important facts and figures about HIV and AIDS:

  • HIV is passed from person to person via infected bodily fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and rectal secretions.
  • HIV is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex (over 90%) and sharing infected syringes or needles.
  • You can’t contract HIV via regular contact, casual touching, spitting, kissing, or sharing tableware or utensils.
  • Globally, the number of new HIV infections has declined by 21% since 1997.
  • In 2012, worldwide, 2.3 million people were newly infected with HIV.
  • In some parts of the world (particularly within Sub-Saharan Africa), between 15-28% of the population are living with HIV.
  • Testing for HIV can now be done using a saliva sample.
  • Only 1% of babies from HIV positive mothers are born with HIV.
  • There is currently no cure or vaccine for HIV.

For more information, check out to see how people are raising awareness and fighting HIV and AIDS around the globe!

Also, click here to take a quiz to test your knowledge about HIV (my score: an embarrassing 4/10 ). It’s super informative and helps you realize just how little you are actually taught about HIV.

Leave a Reply