Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility
Health is a human right – and universal health coverage must be a top investment priority. To overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in Solidarity and share responsibilityAntonio Gueterres
UN Secretary General
Since 1988, the world commemorates World AIDS Day on December 1. It is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. World AIDS Day is one of the eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO. While the world is battling to conquer the COVID pandemic, it cannot afford to forget diseases like AIDS. These continue to affect the lives and livelihoods of a large number of people. COVID pandemic is in addition to all these. Testing, treatment, and care services are all being disrupted, particularly in countries with fragile health systems.
HIV and AIDS are discussed in abbreviated forms, to bring awareness, it is good to have their full forms. Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The HIV virus attacks the immune system of the patient and reduces its resistance to other diseases.
According to the UN, approximately 3.8 crore people globally were living with HIV in 2019. Of these, 3.62 crores were adults, and 18 lakhs were children. More than 690,000 people died of HIV-related causes in 2019 alone. There is no effective cure for HIV/AIDS and on World AIDS Day, let us spread as much awareness about HIV/AIDS as possible. Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa are the countries in the world with the highest percentage of HIV infected people in the world. It is estimated that 2.14 million people lived with HIV/AIDS in India in 2017. Even though being home to the world’s third-largest population of persons with HIV/AIDS (South Africa and Nigeria have more), the AIDS prevalence rate in India is lower (~0.3%) than that of many other countries. Maharashtra accounted for 15% of the national total HIV cases, with high case rate seen in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. Due to the stigma surrounding HIV in India, children of HIV-infected parents are treated poorly and often do not have access to essential resources.
HIV/AIDS has far-reaching adverse effects on the economic, cultural, and social spheres of society. The disease drains the economy of the country as funds need to be diverted to treat the infected patients. It is also a tremendous economic burden on individual families with HIV/AIDS as a significant portion of the income needs to be spent on treatment procedures.
There is hope. As with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, HIV infection has become a manageable, though finding a vaccine or effective cure a long way to go.
2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. It is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery. We can all contribute to the effort to end AIDS and make the world a healthier place.
The stigma associated and lack of awareness and compassion for the people infected by AIDS are the issues the societies must ponder. A society like India where talking about sex is a taboo and no steps taken to educate the young in matters relating to sex, and a lot needs to be done. Bringing awareness and reaching out to the affected people needs to be given impetus.
Word needs to Solidarity, and it is a shared responsibility.
Toons: Reema Jaiswal
Logs: Sai Baba