May 18 is observed as World AIDS Vaccine Day or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day all across the world.
Full form of AIDS is Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome. It is the last stage of condition caused due to the infection by HIV.
Full form of HIV is Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus poses one of the most prevalent global health issues today.
Over 32 million lives have been claimed by this virus since its discovery.
Over 38 million people were infected with this virus by the end of 2018.
Despite better prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment, the containment of this virus continues to be an important public health concern worldwide.
The data only reiterate that we are far from controlling this epidemic.
It has been four decades since HIV was first discovered in humans.
However, no vaccine has been developed so far to protect us from the deadly HIV.
Complete cure of this epidemic is also not found. Once HIV positive, you have to live with the virus!
Objective of World AIDS Vaccine Day
Objective behind observance of this day is not only to raise awareness about the urgent need of a HIV/AIDS vaccine, but also to recognize the contributions of different stakeholders who have been working towards development of the same.
World AIDS Vaccine Day acts like a reminder to the world. It emphasizes the urgent need of an HIV/AIDS vaccine and pushes the international community to invest more on technology which can facilitate the development of HIV/AIDS vaccine.
History of World AIDS Vaccine Day
HIV was first identified in 1981.
Governments around the world made efforts to contain it. But the spread of HIV did not stop. So much so that it eventually became one of the most deadliest and persistent epidemics. World AIDS Vaccine Day was proposed in 1997 by the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton.
During the commencement speech at Morgan State University in 1997, President Clinton floated the idea of an observance day dedicated to development of HIV vaccine. Through the observance, he wanted to project HIV vaccine development as a new goal for the international scientific community.
Exactly one year later, to mark the anniversary of Clinton’s speech at Morgan State University, the first World AIDS Vaccine Day was observed. The day was May 18, 1998.
Since then, stakeholders all around the world observe this day by raising awareness and educating people about the international efforts made so far for development of the HIV/AIDS vaccine.