Celebrating World AIDS Day 2017
By admin December 4, 2017


On December 1st, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated World Aids Day, a celebration for people worldwide to unite together in the fight against HIV. Founded in 1988, World Aids Day was the first ever global health day focused on galvanizing support for eradication efforts.

Today, over 21 million people are receiving antiretroviral therapy that is allowing them to life a fully integrative and productive life. Though few people are becoming infected with HIV, however, this success is still masked by the several disparities and challenges that persist in the eradication of the disease. Still today, marginalized populations remain a threat to HIV/AIDS, especially in developing countries where access to sexual health services remain limited or taboo in nature. Sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs, and prisoners represent 40 percent of new HIV infections in 2016 alone. Likewise, many young women, adolescents, migrants, and displaced persons also find themselves particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite current progress, an estimated 36.7 million people worldwide still live with HIV, and about 1 million people die from AIDS-related illnesses. Further, 1.8 million people become newly infected with HIV on average per year.

In a statement given by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesys, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, there has been a newly encompassing focus on “everybody counts” in eliminating AIDS and viral hepatitis as public health threats. In order to achieve universal health coverage and eradication of the disease, Dr. Ghebreyesys emphasized the need to be adapt health services to reach and meet the needs of those populations most at risk of becoming infected, including implementing a “zero tolerance” policy to stigma and discrimination in health services. Further, resources and preventative treatment measures must be fully met without facing financial hardship, as those with risk of and living with HIV tend to have multiple health needs.

According to the WHO, an effective HIV response utilizes an integrated people-centered care approach whereby the full health needs of individuals and communities are addressed. In fully linking HIV interventions and services into broader health programs, health systems are being strengthened and people living with HIV are able to reach their full health potential. “Providing the right health services to those who need them, in itself, isn’t enough. If we are to achieve equity, to reach universal health coverage and to ensure the right to health for all, we need to work beyond the health system. The principle of everybody counts must be enshrined in policies, laws and practices that span across all relevant sectors, adopting a whole-of-government approach,” says Dr. Ghebreyesys.

Until full global preventative treatment is achieved, World AIDS Day serves as both a reminder to the success in treating global disease burden as well as an indication of the withstanding work needed to be done to fully achieve eradication. World AIDS Day has been  celebrated annually on December 1st since 1988.

Related Readings

World AIDS Day 2017 

World AIDS Day

The Story Behind the Statistics: Make a Difference this World AIDS Day 

Pulling Together to Fight HIV/AIDS

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