Significance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

Significance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day is marked on the 18th of September. It is celebrated to bring light to the challenges that the aging population has to tackle in regard to HIV/AIDS. Basically, the observance of this day is to outline concepts such as testing, prevention, and treatment of those who are aging with HIV/AIDS.

In 2015, around 47% of Americans were diagnosed with HIV and they were aged 50 and above. In 2020, over 70% of Americans were diagnosed with HIV and were expected to be 50 and above. Although HIV risk factors are the same for all adults, older adults may have less knowledge of these factors and the significance of testing to identify HIV in its earliest stage.

Overview of HIV and AIDS

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection preys on the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the name of the illness’s most severe variation.

HIV attacks the body’s white blood cells, which weakens the immune system. This makes illnesses like tuberculosis, infections, and some malignancies easier to contract.

Blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal fluids from an infected person can spread HIV to others. It cannot be shared by kisses, hugs, or food sharing. Additionally, a mother’s baby can get it from her. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can be used to treat and prevent HIV. HIV can turn into AIDS if left untreated, frequently after many years.

Where Did HIV Come from?

  • The HIV infection came from a kind of chimpanzee in Central Africa. According to studies, HIV may have come from chimpanzees to humans.

  • The chimpanzee version of this virus is known as the simian immunodeficiency virus. It was transmitted to humans when chimpanzees were being hunted by humans for meat and came in contact with their affected blood.

  • Over decades, HIV spread across Africa gradually and later into other parts of the world.

Signs and Symptoms of HIV Infection

Once a person gets infected with HIV infection, the virus will continue to multiply and start killing immune cells – the body cells may develop mild infections or symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Diarrhea

  • Pneumonia

  • Shingles

  • Weight loss

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

How is HIV Caused?

Breast milk, blood, semen, and vaginal secretions are just a few of the bodily fluids from HIV-positive individuals that can spread the virus. HIV can potentially be transmitted from mother to unborn child during labour and delivery. Normal daily interactions like kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal items, food, or water do not cause infection in people.

It is crucial to remember that HIV-positive individuals who are using ART and have a viral load that cannot be detected do not transfer the virus to their sexual partners. Therefore, early access to ART and treatment are essential not just to improve the health of those living with HIV but also to prevent the spread of HIV.

How is HIV Prevented?

HIV can be prevented by reducing the risk of HIV infection by:

  • utilizing harm reduction services for people who use and inject drugs

  • being tested for sexually transmitted infections and HIV

  • using a female or male condom when you sex.

Doctors may recommend medicines and medical tools to help prevent HIV, including:

  • injectable long-acting cabotegravir

  • dapivirine vaginal rings

  • antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)

How is HIV Treated and Managed?

There is no specific cure for HIV disease. It can be treated using antiretroviral drugs that can prevent the virus from multiplying in the body. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can’t cure HIV infection but can make the immune system strong. It helps an infected person fight against other infections.

ART reduces the amount of the infection in the body of a person. This prevents symptoms and enables people to live a healthy life. Pregnant women with HIV must take ART as it protects the mother’s health and will stop HIV from passing to the fetus prior to birth, or to the baby with breast milk.


The blog shares the importance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, make sure to get tested for HIV/AIDS. Get informative content on health and fitness by subscribing to Personal Care N Heal.

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