December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day every year. It’s a day dedicated to spreading awareness about the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is spread by a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The theme of World AIDS Day 2020 is “Global solidarity, resilient services”. because in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see how important it is for the world to come together, with determined leadership from governments and communities to sustain and expand access to essential services, including HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.
World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. It has become one of the most widely recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have died, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
Globally, there are 38 million people living with HIV and 67% of them are living in the WHO African Region. In 2019, more than 1 million people in the Region were newly infected with HIV, accounting for 60% of the global total, and sadly, 440,000 people in the Region died from HIV-related causes.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HIV prevention, testing and treatment are all being disrupted worldwide particularly in countries where heathcare infrastructure is weak.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS said in her message on World AIDS Day. “Today is #WorldAIDSDay. We stand in solidarity with all people living with or affected by HIV, and we remember our friends and family who have died from AIDS-related illnesses”.
However, people living with HIV, should be proactive in self-care and in understanding how to prevent the spread of infections.
Also, in a statement issued, UNAIDS is calling on countries to make far greater investments in global pandemic responses and to adopt a new set of bold, ambitious but achievable HIV targets. If those targets are met, the world will be back on track to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.