December 1, World AIDS Day: New Targets, New Horizons

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World AIDS day on 1 December brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.

More than 50% drop in new HIV infections across 25 countries as countries approach the 1000 day deadline to achieve global aids target.

2012 World AIDS Day Report by UN:

Result, by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS), shows that unprecedented acceleration in the AIDS response is producing results for people:

  • Declining New HIV Infections In Children: The area where perhaps most progress being made is in reducing new HIV infections in children.Half of the global reductions in new HIV infections in the last twoyears have been among newborn children.
  • Fewer AIDS-Related Deaths: The report shows that anti retroviral therapy has emerged as a powerful force for saving lives.In the last 24 months the number of people accessing treatment has increased by 63% globally.
  • More Investments: The report shows that countries are increasing investments in the AIDS response, despite a difficult economic climate.The global gap in resources needed annually by 2015 is now at 30%.In 2011, US$ 16.8 billion was available and the need for 2015 is between US$ 22-24 billion.

Recent scientific advances offer a historic opportunity to dramatically drive the rate of new HIV infections and virtually eliminate infections in babies.Authorities are focusing its global HIV/AIDS efforts on reducing new HIV infections using a combination of proven prevention tool list:

  • Preventing Mother To Child Transmission: Identifying HIV positive women and treating them with anti-retroviral drugs is very effective in eliminating new pediatric infections.
  • Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Medical male circumcision is a one time intervention with a life long benefit.This low-cost procedure reduces the risk that women with HIV will transmit the virus to HIV negative men by more than 60%.HIV negative women also benefit from the lower rate of infection.
  • Scaling Up Treatment: Recent science has shown that when people are HIV positive, treatment with anti-retroviral drug helps prevent the transmission of HIV to others.Effective treatment of person living with HIV reduces the risk of sexual transmission to a partner by up to 96%.

Between 2011-2015 World AIDS Days will have themes of ”Getting to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AID related death.To achieve that, 10 goals have been set up for 2015:

  • Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work.
  • Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half.
  • All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.
  • Universal access to anti retroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment.
  • TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half.
  • All people living with HIV are addressed in all national and social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support.
  • Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drugs or homosexuality that block effective response reduced by half.
  • HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions.
  • HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV response.
  • Zero tolerance for gender based violence.

The world AIDS campaign focus on ”Zero AIDS related deaths”, signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all, a call for government to act now.It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.