World AIDS Day 2021: End inequalities. End AIDS
1 December 2021
What is world AIDS day?
Every year, on December 1st, the World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for the world to come together in the fight against Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), to show solidarity for HIV-positive people, and to remember those who have died because of an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related illness. Awareness and prevention are key, while an effective vaccine remains elusive. In 2021, the WHO theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is “End inequalities. End AIDS”.
Why is World AIDS Day important?
The world’s attention is currently directed towards COVID-19, but today we should remind ourselves that we are still combatting another pandemic. According to WHO, in 2020 more than 37 Mio people were living with HIV, globally. Even though HIV was only discovered in 1984, up to today millions of people have died as a result of HIV and AIDS-related illnesses, making it one world’s most serious public health challenges. Significant progress has been achieved so far and today we know a lot more about the disease and more people than ever have access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, which allows them to live long and healthy lives. However, ignorance, stigma and discrimination are still a reality for many. Thus, World AIDS Day serves as a reminder to the public and government that HIV has not gone away, and that increased awareness, prejudice-fighting, and improved education are still required.
On World AIDS Day, how can you help?
Focus on equality: To ensure that HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care, as well as COVID-19 immunizations and services, are available to everyone, everywhere.
Remove the stigma: awareness is the key to eliminate the misconceptions and stigma that could hinder HIV/AIDS from spreading. We need to learn the facts about HIV and how it is transmitted and redefine how we think about it. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate across communities; we are all at risk of catching it. The impact of HIV-related stigma on an individual is devastating.
Get tested: It is equally crucial to know your personal status as it is to educate our friends and family about HIV/AIDS.
Develop Vaccines: Vaccines have long been the most successful method of preventing and even eliminating infectious diseases. A preventive HIV vaccine, like those for smallpox and polio, could potentially save millions of lives. Till today a safe and effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS is yet to become a reality. However, research efforts are being pursued including three late-stage clinical trials, Imbokodo, Mosaico and PrepVacc.
On this day EVI joins the global efforts to raise awareness to the challenges and inequalities that the world still faces in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Image Source: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-aids-day/world-aids-day-2021