World AIDS Day 2019 Theme: Communities Make The Difference

Ezeani Chiemezie

Ezeani Chiemezie

Executive Director

Passionate about change, economic growth & social development. Ezeani Chiemezie is the founder and Executive Director of LIFT4Africa. A sport lover with the philosophy "The we can"

           

World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day.

As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.

Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS epidemic has decreased since its peak in 2005 (1 million in 2016, compared to 1.9 million in 2005).

Communities Make The Difference: Lets make the difference.

Communities make an invaluable contribution to the AIDS response. Communities of people living with HIV, of key populations—gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, prisoners, transgender people and prisoners—and of women and young people lead and support the delivery of HIV services, defend human rights, support their peers. Communities are the lifeblood of an effective AIDS response and an important pillar of support.

Communities of people living with and affected by HIV, along with peer educators, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists, are leading and campaigning to ensure that the AIDS response remains relevant. They are fighting to keep people at the centre of decision-making and programme implementation and help to ensure that no one is left behind.

Communities are making the difference and are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, but far too often are lacking the resources and recognition they deserve and need. To recognize the role played by communities and community-led organizations, UNAIDS and its partners are highlighting the role of communities this World AIDS Day.

At a time when reduced funding is putting the sustainability of HIV services in jeopardy, community activism is vital. A greater mobilization of communities is urgently needed and the barriers that stop communities from delivering services need to be overcome. Today more than ever communities are needed to ensure that HIV remains on the political agenda, that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable.

Call to Action

LIFT4Africa seeks the support of relevant stakeholders in the fight against the prevalence of AIDS within the community. we also call on government agencies to initiate policies in addressing the stigmatization faced by people living with HIV/AIDS.

Facts and Figures

Global HIV statistics

  • HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 32 million lives so far. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
  • There were approximately 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018.
  • As a result of concerted international efforts to respond to HIV, coverage of services has been steadily increasing. In 2018, 62% of adults and 54% of children living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries were receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART).
  • A great majority (82%) of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV also received ART, which not only protects their health, but also ensures prevention of HIV transmission to their newborns.
  • However, not everyone is able to access HIV testing, treatment and care. Notably, the 2018 Super-Fast-Track targets for reducing new paediatric HIV infections to 40 000 was not achieved. Global targets for 2020 are at risk of being missed unless rapid action is taken.
  • Due to gaps in HIV services, 770 000 people died from HIV-related causes in 2018 and 1.7 million people were newly infected.
  • In 2018, for the first time, individuals from key population groups and their sexual partners accounted for over half of all new HIV infections globally (an estimated 54%) in 2018. For eastern European, central Asian, Middle Eastern and north African regions, these groups accounted for around 95% of new HIV infections.
  • Key populations include: men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs; people in prisons and other closed settings; sex workers and their clients; and transgender people. Read more

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