World AIDS Day, which is celebrated on 1 December, was established in 1988 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic and to commemorate those who have lost their lives to the disease. The day serves as a platform to educate society about HIV/AIDS and show support for people living with HIV. It also aims to reduce stigmatisation and promote access to treatment and prevention services .
Significance in medicine
World AIDS Day plays a crucial role in highlighting advances in medical research and improved access to treatment for HIV and AIDS. It commemorates the ongoing global fight against HIV and is an opportunity to honour those affected by the disease. The day also provides a platform to showcase the latest research successes and results in the fight against HIV and AIDS .
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication taken by people at high risk of HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in the body and spreading. PrEP is highly effective when taken as prescribed. It reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex by around 99% and the risk of contracting HIV through injecting drug use by at least 74%  .
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a treatment that can stop an HIV infection after the virus has entered a person’s body. It must be taken as soon as possible after exposure, but within 72 hours. PEP is intended for people who may have been exposed to HIV and is for emergency situations only. PEP is an important tool in preventing HIV transmission and it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after exposure [ 3].
The perspective of society
From a societal perspective, World AIDS Day is important to raise awareness of HIV and to support people living with the disease. It aims to secure the rights of people living with HIV and to continue the fight against the stigmatisation associated with the disease. The day also serves as a reminder of how far society has come in reducing the stigmatisation of HIV, while highlighting the need to reduce the stigmatisation of people living with HIVto zero .
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruptions in HIV prevention and treatment services, making it more important than ever to remain committed to the fight against HIV and AIDS. World AIDS Day is an important opportunity to start conversations to raise awareness and support those living with HIV. A people-centred approach should be taken, focusing on the rights of those affected by the disease .
To summarise, World AIDS Day is of great importance in both medical and social terms. It serves as a platform to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic, honour those who have lost their lives to the disease and support people living with HIV. The day also plays an important role in informing people about the latest advances in medical research, improving access to treatment and promoting the rights of people living with HIV. As the world continues to fight HIV and AIDS, World AIDS Day remains an important annual holiday that unites communities and organisations in their commitment to ending the epidemic. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are important tools for preventing HIV transmission, and it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an exposure     .
- World AIDS Day. (n.d.). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/World-AIDS-Day
- What is PrEP? (n.d.). In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/index.html
- World AIDS Day. (n.d.). In HIV.gov. Retrieved from https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. (n.d.). In HIV.gov. Retrieved from https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/using-hiv-medication-to-reduce-risk/pre-exposure-prophylaxis
- World AIDS Day – 1st December > Glos Health & Care NHS Foundation Trust. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/news/world-aids-day/
- PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV). (n.d.). In Terrence Higgins Trust. Retrieved from https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/pep-post-exposure-prophylaxis-hiv