World AIDS Day
which falls on December 1st, 2010, is an opportune time to increase
awareness, improve funding, tackle prejudice, step-up education, and activate
prevention measures with special attention on countries with high prevalence of
HIV-AIDS. The day seeks to refresh our
collective memories about the presence of the scourge amongst us
and is a reckoner of what remains to be done to reduce its incidence.
The main goal of World AIDS Day 2010 campaign is to improve
universal access and accord basic rights to HIV victims while also giving an
impetus to prevention, treatment, care and support for HIV victims. This
sentiment is stamped on the theme of World Aids Day 2010 - ''Universal
Access and Human Rights".
• According to latest statistics from UNAIDS, 33.3 million
people are battling HIV worldwide, of which 2.5 million are children.
• Majority of HIV victims belong to lower and middle-income
• 50% of victims are youth; statistics show that most do not
live beyond 10 years following diagnosis.
• 2.5 million HIV+ individuals reside in India and Tamilnadu
is home to about 1.7 lakh victims.
• Despite the awareness about protection before sex, 60%
female sex workers in China do not use condoms with clients.
• Education about HIV-AIDS
is imperative as nearly one in three people escape diagnosis of the
AIDS Prevention Programmes
AIDS prevention programmes have made their mark and have
helped reduce the rate of new infections by 17% in eight years. The challenge
still remains to tackle the number of people living with the infection which
has unfortunately risen by 20%.
Sub-Saharan Africa appears to be the worst affected with 71% of new
HIV infections. Rate of new infections have also shown an upward trend in parts
of Central Asia and Eastern Europe; the blessing is that the AIDS epidemic has
stabilized with lesser incidences of new infections in most regions.
Asia still remains a challenge with respect to HIV-control. It comes
second to Sub-Saharan Africa in the number of HIV victims. What is most
alarming is that, half of Asia's HIV victims are from
India. The main reason for the spread of HIV in Asia is sexual transmission. Rightly,
a survey placed sex workers in the high
risk category for HIV, as close to 14.5
% of female sex workers are victims of
Key Focus Areas
Today victims of HIV receive much better care and services; yet,
one-third of countries worldwide need to get their act together to step-up
protection measures against HIV. The
main barriers to HIV services are stigma and discrimination against HIV
Funds and the lack of it has been a grey area haunting AIDS
initiatives. To take many of the national policies forward, funding needs to be
improved and it is here that political leaders can go the extra mile to make a
Access to HIV treatment needs improvement against the backdrop of new
infections- the rate of new infection is 2.7 times faster than the numbers
actually receiving treatment. Middle-income countries need to act fast as
statistics show that only 31% of people actually receive treatment for HIV. A
priority-based approach is need of the hour to spruce up services forsex workers, drug users, adolescents and
On World Aids Day, let us endeavor to stand up against stigma
and discrimination surrounding HIV or AIDS. Let us become aware and spread
that awareness about prevention, treatment, care and support for HIV/AIDS
Sport the Red Ribbon,
Spread the Message, Act Fast and Act Now to Save the World from HIV-AIDS!