World AIDS Vaccine Day 2020: Date, history, significance of observing this day; all you need to know

By: |
May 18, 2020 12:28 PM

In 2019, the World Health Organization's official twitter handle tweeted about the then-current status of HIV cases worldwide on the occasion of World AIDS Day.

The first World Aids Vaccine Day was officially celebrated on 18 May 1998.

World AIDS Vaccine Day 2020: May 18 is observed as the World Day of Vaccination against AIDS. The grim reality is that AIDS continues to affect the world. No vaccine has been developed yet for curbing this disease yet. And thus the 18th of May is observed as the World AIDS Vaccination Day to raise awareness about this disease.

History and significance of World AIDS Vaccine Day

There are three major reasons why HIV or AIDS spreads–Mother-to-child, sexual touch, and sharing of body fluids. It was first recorded clinically back in the USA back in 1981. Five AIDS cases were reported as of June 5, 1981. HIV1 and HIV2 both originated from non-human primates. As it was incurable and lethal, many myths spread around the disease like a wild weed, and people began blaming those affected by HIV. Those who were infected with HIV were shunned by society and had to face considerable negativity in all spheres of life as people did not understand the illness and chose to blame those who were diagnosed as positive. To shift the society’s mindset into one of awareness, it became necessary to tackle baseless myths and misinformation. More importantly, it became essential to ensure that those who are infected are not treated badly or discriminated against in social interactions.

In order to counter misinformation and hatred due to false reports and avoid the further spread of the disease, the U.S. celebrated May 18 as World Aids Vaccine Day. The then US President Bill Clinton in his speech in 1997 spoke of the importance of observing this day. He also spoke about spreading awareness about AIDS, emphasising on the need to ensure that the disease is tackled in the right way and with the right mindset.

The first World Aids Vaccine Day was officially celebrated on 18 May 1998. Reports say it was held to mark the anniversary of Bill Clinton’s speech and the tradition has been carried forward ever since. AIDS can only be prevented by educating people about this disease, so observing this day is absolutely necessary.

In 2019, the World Health Organization’s official twitter handle tweeted about the then-current status of HIV cases worldwide on the occasion of World AIDS Day. It stated that by the end of 2018 around 37.9 million people were living with HIV. Among them, 79% had been diagnosed with the disease and 62% had received some form of immunity treatment. Fifty-three per cent had completed the elimination of the HIV virus, meaning that they were at a stage where their chances of further spreading the disease were very small. While it is hoped that governments and organisations across the world continue to spread awareness and positive communication on the illness, the importance of observing World Aids Vaccine Day continues to give hope and respect to those affected by it.

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