Every year, 1st December is observed as the WORLD AIDS DAY to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused due to HIV infection. The day also pays tribute to those who have succumbed to death due to the disease. It is one of the eight global public health campaigns recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) including World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Malaria Day etc.
The idea to reserve the day was first initiated in August 1987 by the two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at WHO (World Health Organization), James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter. The idea was further approved by the Director of Global Programme, Dr. Mann in December 1988.
The figure estimates that till 2015, AIDS has taken 36 million lives and almost equal are suffering from the HIV infection. Since the start of the epidemic, 78 million people have become infected with HIV. More than 18 million people suffering from the disease are receiving life-saving HIV treatment to eliminated HIV and stop the mother to child infection. Although, medical progression has made the HIV treatment possible but still every year thousands of people are diagonised with HIV infection. The antiretroviral treatment which is now available to cure the disease is yet to be accessible around the world. The poor and marginalised section of the society is often unable to access the treatment and claims estimated 2 million lives each year, comprising 270,000 children.
Worldwide, India has the third largest number of HIV cases and estimated 2.1 million people are known to be infected by the virus. The Lance Study reveals that in 2015, 196,000 new cases of HIV have been registered and around 130,000 people have died due to the complications related to AIDS.
Every year the World AIDS Day is observed around a specific theme. The theme for year 2016 is centered around Hands up for #HIVprevention, focused on raising awareness about the preventive measures of HIV infection.
Under the Sustainable Development goals, it is targeted to eliminate AIDS epidemic by 2030. However, the coinfections from diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), cervical cancer and hepatitis C is creating hindrance in achieving this target.
Fiinovation feels, that better access to treatment, preventive measures, elimination of stigma and taboo attached with the disease, and spreading awareness about the disease will help in fighting the disease and achieve the sustainable development goals. Together, we should stand united to fight against the disease.
HIV doesn’t make people dangerous to know. You can shake hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it – Princess Diana
By Manisha Bhatia, Media & Communications, Fiinovation