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by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-12-01 07:52:14
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December 1st is the World AIDS Day and this is the message for the occasion from Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS:

On this World AIDS Day we are filled with both hope and concern. Hope because significant progress has been made towards universal access. New HIV infections have dropped. Fewer children are born with HIV. And more than 4 million people are on treatment.

Concern because 28 years into the epidemic the virus continues to make inroads into new populations; stigma and discrimination continue to undermine efforts to turn back the epidemic. The violation of human rights of people living with HIV, women and girls, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers must end. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on “all countries to live up to their commitments to enact or enforce legislation outlawing discrimination against people living with HIV and members of vulnerable groups”. On this World AIDS Day, let us work urgently to remove punitive laws and practices and put an end to discrimination against and criminalization of people affected by HIV.

On World AIDS Day let us also act on HIV prevention. For every two people put on treatment, five are newly infected. Too often prevention programmes are not reaching those most in need. We can eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We can empower young people to protect themselves from HIV. We can stop violence against women and girls. We can protect drug users from becoming infected with HIV. And we can reduce sexual transmission of HIV.  Gains made today are fragile and must be sustained. The economic crisis should not be a reason for reducing investments in health. Economic adjustments must be made through a human rights lens that keeps the focus on those most vulnerable. This is the time to increase rather than decrease funding for AIDS.

AIDS provides a powerful mechanism for creating integrated health, human rights and development programmes. We must take AIDS out of isolation and create a broad social movement that will accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us – individuals, communities and political leaders – to take action towards making universal access a reality.

And some shocking numbers; the latest statistics of the global HIV and AIDS were published by UNAIDS in November 2009, and refer to the end of 2008:

People living with HIV/AIDS in 2008         33.4 million
Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2008         31.3 million
Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2008         15.7 million
Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2008         2.1 million
People newly infected with HIV in 2008         2.7 million
Children newly infected with HIV in 2008     0.43 million
AIDS deaths in 2008                 2.0 million
Child AIDS deaths in 2008             0.28 million

And if that was not …enough,
More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans.
At the end of 2008, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide
In developing and transitional countries, 9.5 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 4 million (42%) are receiving the drugs.

And as I said in another article, a picture is worth a thousand words here a few pictures!




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