World AIDS Day: Know Your Status, End AIDS

World AIDS Day is celebrated each year on December 1st. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and improve a greater understanding of HIV as a global public health issue.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has proposed the following theme: “Know Your Status, End AIDS.”

“We have made progress in the response to HIV in the Americas, however efforts must continue to reduce new infections and improve access to treatment.

“In Latin America, there was a reduction of only 1% in the number of people newly infected every year since 2010 (120,000 people per year, approximately); and almost 1 in every 4 persons with HIV do not know their status.

“Additionally, about a third of new infections occur in young people age 15 to 24 years and more than half of all infections in key populations.

“Key populations carry a very disproportionate burden of HIV proportional to their estimated population size. Men who have sex with men alone accounted for 41% of new infections in Latin America and 23% in the Caribbean in 2017.

“Addressing gaps in HIV testing, especially among key populations – in the context of combination HIV prevention-, can help the Region to accelerate progress and end AIDS by 2030,” according to PAHO.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), includes World AIDS Day as part of its calendar of annual observances.

CPS calls on the community to educate and inform themselves about the latest developments related to AIDS. It is also important for the community to be supportive and not discriminate against persons living with HIV AIDS or any other diseases.

The CPS add that collectively let us inform each resident of preventive steps to take to mitigate the spread. Each informed person on HIV AIDS holds the key to shut down the spread of HIV. Let us keep ourselves and love ones safe by making informed choices and decisions.

This World AIDS Day is also the 30th anniversary when the World Health Organization (WHO) started in 1988 a pioneering global health prevention campaign to profile the disease.

The two main aims for World AIDS Day according to the WHO are: Urge people to know their HIV infection status through testing, and to access HIV prevention, treatment and care services.

The second aim is to urge policy-makers to promote a ‘health for all’ agenda for HIV and related health services, such as tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis and noncommunicable diseases.