World AIDS Day this year finds us still deep amid another pandemic – COVID-19
. The highly infectious novel coronavirus has swept across the world, devastating health systems and laying waste to economies as governments introduced drastic measures to contain the spread. Not since the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 1990s have countries faced such a common health threat.
Eighteen million people, just slightly under half of the people living with HIV and AIDS globally, are now taking life-saving medication, but global efforts to end the disease still largely depend on prevention.
Already 15 million people are accessing life-saving HIV treatment, according to UNAIDS. New HIV infections have been reduced by 35 per cent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 42 per cent since the peak in 2004.
When she found out that she had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Thabisile Mkhize (not her real name) was scared.
When Shorai Chitongo founded Ray of Hope, a support group for female survivors of domestic violence in 2005, she discovered that three-quarters of the survivors in the group were HIV-positive.
[caption id="attachment_114724" align="alignright" width="250"]
As the international community comes together on Dec. 1 to celebrate World AIDS Day, a new report
from UNAIDS reveals that while significant progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS, stigmatisation, violence and discrimination against members of the gay community continue relentlessly.
[caption id="attachment_114719" align="alignright" width="300"]
On World AIDS Day, the fact that the number of children newly infected with HIV continues to decline is welcome news to UNITAID, the International Drug Purchase Facility hosted by the World Health Organisation
. But UNITAID is also well aware of how much more remains to be done for children already living with the disease.