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World AIDS Day 2020: A Day Of Solidarity To Prevent HIV And Support People Living With It

World AIDS Day was first observed on December 1, 1988 to raise awareness about HIV, as well as to commemorate those who have died due to the disease. Here is all you need to know about the significance of the day

AIDS Response 'Under Threat' Amid Human Rights Backlash - UN
  • World AIDS Day 2020 Theme: Ending HIV/AIDS Epidemic - Resilience and Impact
  • The day is regarded as the longest-running disease awareness initiative
  • 2020 marks the 32nd anniversary of the global HIV campaign

New Delhi: HIV is a virus that lives in human blood, sexual fluids, and breast milk and weakens the immune system of a person and when left untreated, it leads to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) which is a condition that comes when the immune system stops working completely. HIV spreads mainly through unprotected sexual contact, from mother to child and sharing needles. As per an estimate by the World Health Organisation (WHO), HIV/AIDS has claimed almost 3.3 crore lives so far across the globe. With an aim to raise awareness about HIV and to commemorate those affected by the disease, December 1 has been marked by WHO as an international day dedicated to AIDS or World AIDS Day.

Also Read: World AIDS Day 2020: A Look At How HIV-AIDS Has Been Impacting The World

History Of The World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day was first observed on December 1, 1988. It was first proposed by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS in 1987. The year 2020 marks the 32nd anniversary of the global HIV campaign. It is regarded as the longest-running disease awareness initiative of its kind in the history of public health. In the first two years, World AIDS Day focused on the theme of children and youth in order to bring to the spotlight the impact of AIDS on families. In 1996, UNAIDS took over the World AIDS Day operations and expanded the scope of the initiative to a year-round prevention and education campaign.

Theme Of World AIDS Day 2020

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), over 3.8 crore people are living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) worldwide. The World AIDS Day themes, as per the UNAIDS, have mirrored the policy goals of public health authorities for the year. The theme for 2020 is ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact’. This theme is especially important this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. World AIDS Day 2020 theme is a reminder of everything that can be achieved, when we together focus on the impact by delivering high-quality services for treatment and prevention of HIV, to the ones who are in need. It also focuses on tackling stigma and discrimination against people with HIV. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said,

Health is a human right. Health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage. On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.

Also Read: Expert Blog: HIV Prevention- Ending The HIV Epidemic Together

Why World AIDS Day Is Still Important?

According to UNAIDS, around 17 lakh people are infected with HIV each year. The World AIDS Day motivates policymakers, health workers and people, in general, to unite and reinforce the urgency of ending the disease around the world. The day is still significant because almost 6.9 lakh people died of AIDS in 2019, as per WHO. Even now only 68 per cent adults and 53 per cent of children living with HIV globally are receiving the required treatment. Not everyone is able to access HIV testing, which according to UNAIDS is crucial for combating the virus. In 2014, UNAIDS announced a 90-90-90 strategy with an aim to end the disease by 2030. The strategy includes identifying 90 per cent of people living with HIV through expanded testing, placing the 90 per cent of positively identified individuals on treatment, and ensuring that 90 per cent of those on therapy are able to achieve undetectable viral loads indicative of treatment success. According to Dr. Veena Aggarwal, Gynaecologist, Consultant Women’s Health, Medtalks.in, an online medical platform which provides continuous medical education to doctors and paramedical staff, suppressing the viral load to undetectable levels makes people with HIV far less likely to pass the virus to others. However, due to the lack of awareness and the stigma around AIDS, people hesitate to get tested.

Also Read: Adolescent Sexual Health: Parents, Teachers Need To Break The Cycle Of Silence Around Sex And Sexuality, Say Experts

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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