Today, December 1, marks World AIDS Day, a day to raise awareness of this disease, to support those living with it, and to remember those who have died from it.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, provides five facts about HIV and AIDS of which we should be aware.
1. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS also refers to the most advanced stages of the HIV infection (which stands for human immunodeficiency virus). If a person has HIV, they don’t necessarily have AIDS, or they may contract AIDS years later.
2. We often think of AIDS as a sexually transmitted disease--which it can be--but it can also be transmitted through contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, or even between a mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
3. An estimated 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV. Additionally, 1.8 million of these are children. Also, the majority of those infected live in impoverished countries.
4. Although many children are living with HIV, the number of children who contracted the infection actually went down this past year. In 2010, 290,000 children were living with the disease. In 2015, an estimated 150,000 were HIV-positive. The majority of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their mothers. Efforts are being taken to prevent transmissions of the disease from mother to child. In some countries, such as Cuba, these efforts have been very successful.
5. HIV naturally affects African chimpanzees and was spread by cross-species transmission, although it is not known how this initially occurred. The AIDS epidemic was first recorded in the 1920’s in Kinshasa, a city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. AIDS was recognized as a new disease in 1981.
Join us in praying for those affected by this disease, that God would bring healing and restoration.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: December 1, 2016