World AIDS Day: A Call to Action
December 1st is World AIDS Day; a time to raise awareness about the Human
Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and reflect
on the lives of those living with and affected by the pandemic.
In 2015, over 30 years after the first cases of HIV/AIDS were diagnosed,
it is important to continue to bring recognition
to the pandemic through WAD and other strategic initiatives.
We are still facing a pandemic and we must remain vigilant. This paper addresses
the history of WAD and examples of how governments and organizations around
the globe unite people and raise awareness.
The United Nations estimates that globally approximately 37 million people are living with
HIV and that around half of all people are living with HIV (PLWH) do not know their
status, thus preventing them from accessing care and treatment.
In 2014, over two million individuals became newly infected with HIV and 1.2 million people
died from AIDS-related illnesses. Despite high rates of HIV/AIDS, especially in developing countries,
we have made significant progress in prevention, care, and treatment.
For example, 15 million PLWH are taking combination antiretroviral therapy. Globally,
new rates of HIV infection have decreased by 35% since 2000 and there has been a 42%
reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2004.
In order to curb the pandemic, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has
a three-prong goal to achieve by 2020: 90% of all PLWH will know their HIV status, 90% of
all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90%
of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
HIV/AIDS Res Treat Open J. 2015; 2(4): e18-e21. doi: 10.17140/HARTOJ-2-e007