Today Is World AIDS Day

The AIDS quilt remembers those who lost their battle with the disease

The AIDS quilt remembers those who lost their battle with the disease. Credit WAER File

"If people living with HIV don't know their viral load, they won't be sure that the treatment is effective, protecting their health and stopping HIV transmission", Sidibe's message read in parts whiles he admitted that 30 years on, there was a long way to go despite successes chalked. However, about 9.4 million people did not know that they were living with HIV.

"Know your status" is the campaign slogan for this year's World AIDS Day, which is celebrated today, December 1.

Unfortunately, many barriers to HIV testing remain.

The theme for the 2018 World AIDS Day commemoration is "Know Your Status" which brings into spotlight the importance of urging people to know their HIV infection status by getting tested. By 2017, 75% of the people estimated to be living with HIV (28 million out of 37 million) had accessed HIV testing and been diagnosed.

While noting that since 1986, when the first AIDS case was reported in India, the report says the national response to the disease resulted in a significant achievement of 66% reduction in new infections between 2000-2015 and 54% reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2007.

"Many of those who are being left behind are those who are more affected by HIV including people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners".

Today Is World AIDS Day

The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing.

"So, with a loud voice, we're calling on every Nigerian to submit himself or herself to get tested for HIV so as to know whether they are positive or negative to the virus".

"Reducing new HIV infections is key to accelerating the response to HIV/AIDS in the Americas", said Dr. Espinal. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. This is particularly important given that approximately one third of new HIV infections occur among young people aged 15 to 24 years old.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has charged African Governments to improve funding support for HIV testing, care and treatment. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education measures on AIDS prevention and control.

"We have made tremendous progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS".

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