The first AIDS case was diagnosed on December 1, 1981, so this 2021 marks 40 years from that historical moment. That’s why in 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that date as AIDS World Day.

Since then, the whole world commemorates each “December 1st” to create more awareness about AIDS, promote its prevention and early detection, and achieve greater understanding as a global health issue.

Today, the condition caused by the infection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is so familiar that most people just call it

by its acronym AIDS, instead of its full name acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.


The HIV virus causes damages to the immune system, which is the one responsible for fighting infections. That’s why, when it is not functioning well, the body loses its ability to counteract may of the serious illnesses.

People with HIV have AIDS when their immune systems are severely damaged or when HIV-related infections or cancer occurs.

Because it can take years for symptoms to develop, many people don’t know they have HIV and, during this time, may unconsciously spread the virus to others.

Because most people with HIV seem healthy, the only way to know you’re infected is to get a blood test.


There are different ways in which HIV can be spread:

• Through sexual (vaginal, anal, or oral) relationship with a person who has HIV, both men and women.

Through contact with the blood of an HIV-infected person. This can happen when syringes or needles are shared, accidentally injected with a needle containing someone else’s blood, or when in contact with other body fluids that contain blood.

• By a mother to her baby during pregnancy, labor, delivery or lactation, or when sharing previously chewed food.

• Through blood or products derived from blood transfusion, organ transplants or artificial insemination. This is very rare because blood, sperm, tissue, and organ donation is currently routinely tested for HIV.

Anyone who practices any of these risky behaviors should be tested for HIV. Remember that it may take several months for an HIV test to be positive.

You can NOT get HIV in the following ways:

• Greet or hug a person with HIV or sit next to them

• Eating foods prepared by a person with HIV

• Sharing glasses, plates or eating utensils with a person with HIV

• By air, water in swimming pools or insect bites.


There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. However, there are many medications that can help lessen symptoms, prevent the virus from spreading to an unborn baby, and help prevent further infections in people with HIV.

Starting treatment for an HIV infection before AIDS symptoms appear is much more effective, so it is very important to get tested as early as possible. If you do, you can start treatment quickly and stay healthy for many years.