“At the beginning of the fourth decade of the HIV endemic, profound stigma and discrimination is a fact of life for those with the disease-not just socially, but within our legal system.”
– Sean Strub, HIV activist
This year, the global theme of world aids day is “Communities make the Difference” emphasizing that we are all members of our communities and that we can gain important support from those communities. We recognize the critical role that communities play in responding to HIV, through advocacy, service provision and peer support, bringing us closer to the goal of ending AIDS. This is an important occasion for communities to recognize the essential role they play and to continue to play in response to AIDS at the international, national and local levels.
December 1 is celebrated as World AIDS Day every year; it allows people to join the fight against HIV. This day reminds us that the HIV epidemic is no longer over and that HIV and AIDS live with HIV. Although HIV infection cannot be cured, it can be prevented and treated. This an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to remember those who have died from AIDS.
The main motto behind celebrating the day is to raise awareness about AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a pandemic disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)infection, which damages the immune system.
The messages from the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie byanyima said-“When people and communities have power and agency, change happens. In many parts of the world, there has been significant progress in reducing new HIV infections, reducing aids-related deaths and discrimination, especially in east and south Africa, but gender inequality and human rights denial are leaving many people behind. Social injustices, inequality, denial of citizenship rights, abuses and discrimination are progressing against HIV and the sustainable development goals.”
A new report by UNAIDS, power to the people, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that people and communities affected by HIV are involved in decision-making and HIV service, new infections have subsided, and many people living with HIV have access to treatment. When people have the power to choose, to know, to thrive, to demand and to work together, lives are saved, injustices are prevented, and dignity is restored.
On world aids day, UNAIDS salutes the achievements of activists and communities in the fight against HIV activists. We remember and we honor all those we have lost along the way. Activists challenged silence and brought life-saving services to their communities. But the countless contributions made by women and many others can never change the responsibility of the government.
The UN program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) inspires the world to achieve the vision of zero new HIV infection, zero discrimination and zero new partnerships for aids deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of six UN agencies – UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, and the world bank together with global and national partners to end the aids epidemic by 2020. Works part of the sustainable development goals.
The role of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in HIV/AIDS is to help countries close these gaps in their health sectors and to help ensure that life-saving HIV services are accessible to everyone who needs them. WHO leads activities on HIV treatment and care, and HIV and jointly coordinates the work on the elimination of HIV.
According to World Health Organisation, “37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018, 79 percent received testing, 62 percent received treatment, and 53 percent had achieved suppression of the HIV with reduced risk of infecting others.”
The sixty-ninth world health assembly supports HIV for a new “global health sector strategy for 2016–2021″. The strategy includes five strategic directions that guide priority actions by countries and by over six years. The strategic directions are:
- Information for focused action (know your epidemic and response)
- Interventions for impact (covering the range of services needed)
- Delivering for equity (covering the populations in need of services)
- Financing for sustainability (covering the costs of services)
- Innovation for acceleration (looking towards the future).
The other organizations release statements of Worlds AIDS Day, Cabinet Secretary for health in Kenya, Sicily Kariuki said-“the partnership between government and civil society, together with the meaningful involvement of communities, has allowed us to significantly reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. Communities are the very center of the aids response and are critical to ending AIDS.”
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most serious threats to human health and development. This year at world aids day, we recognize and highlight the key role that communities play in responding to HIV. Communities help ensure that everyone is aware of their risks and that they how to access the information and services they need to protect themselves and their partners from HIV. Their role is central to ending aids.
World AIDS Day offers an opportunity to fight against HIV. People who have been affected by HIV feel motivated and dare to fight against the fatal disease.
- Swechha Poudel