On the first of Decemeber, World AIDS Day is celebrated. This day is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to remember those who have died of the disease and to celebrate accomplishments, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
Today, despite advances in HIV treatment and in laws designed to protect those living with HIV, many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV or about the stigma and discrimination that remain a reality for many people living with HIV.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is ” Getting to Zero”. After 30 years of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, this year the focus is on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV Infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS – related deaths.
It is estimated that 33.3million people have HIV worldwide. In Nigeria, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS has decreased by 35 percent, this is good news and shows that we are becoming more aware about HIV. The word keeps spreading, even the entertainment industry has joined in the race to prevent HIV and for people to know their status.
UN Secretary – General Banki Moon, “Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so”. Discrimination against those infected with HIV/AIDS includes both the fear of getting the disease and also negative assumptions about people who are infected. AIDS – related stigma and discrimination as the main reason why people are reluctant to be tested or even treated.
More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus worldwide, making it one of the most distinctive pandemics in history.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn the facts about HIV. By increasing the understanding of how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today. Know your status today.