On 1st December of every year, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People all over the world unite to show support for people affected by AIDS and people living with HIV. Also, those who lost their lives to AIDS are remembered. World AIDS Day is also observed to raise awareness among people towards the problem of AIDS and HIV (a disease that affects the immune system of the body). The biggest problem among the current problems facing the world perhaps are AIDS and HIV infections. According to official and authentic data, over 25 million people have died of these infections between 1981 and 2007. Even though there are improved preventive measures such as antiretroviral treatments and condoms, the problem still remains a worry across the globe.
This year 2020, the world’s attention has been focused by the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is reminding us once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as human rights, reducing inequality, gender equality, economic growth and social protection. Having this in mind, this year’s theme of World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”.
COVID-19 has shown that during a pandemic, nobody is safe until everyone is safe. Abandoning people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. Discrimination and eliminating stigma, putting people at the center and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19. In a recent report, Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre, UNAIDS is appealing to countries to make far greater investments in global pandemic responses and to adopt a new set of ambitious, bold 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
It was in 1987 that the idea of a World AIDS Day was first mooted. Two public health officials working in the World Health Organization were the mastermind of this great day. The two officials were Thomas Netter and James Bunn. The idea for a day dedicated to the problem of HIV and AIDS was approved by Dr. Mann (then director of UNAIDS).
The first ever World AIDS Day was observed on 1st December, 1988. Up until 1996, the day was organized by the World Health Organization. Meanwhile in 1996, a Global World AIDS program was made by Dr. Mann and Bunn, and a new organization was formed under WHO in order to promote awareness of HIV and AIDS among people. This new organization was called the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, also called UNAIDS. Since 1996, UNAIDS has been responsible for organizing the day as well as raising awareness among the masses towards AIDS and HIV and the steps they can take to prevent it. The purpose of formation of UNAIDS was to have a year-round effort towards promoting AIDS and HIV awareness. Thus, in many countries, an AIDS Awareness Month is observed instead of a single day
How to observe World AIDS Day
Be bold! Get to know of your HIV status. Go to the hospital and find out if you are positive or negative. Be bold! There are several ways you could get HIV. It is not only through sex. Don’t feel shy. Be bold and know your status. After knowing your HIV status, you will be guided to live a good and healthy life. Your health is very important. As a youth who is not yet married, say no to sex, say not to contraception and contraceptives.
Abstinence is key.
Say not to AIDS.
Let us ‘hear’ what the UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres has for us
“Health is a human right. Health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage. On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that, to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.
I love you all. Let’s all act responsibly and fight AIDS and COVID-19