On World AIDS Day 2020, World Health Organisation highlighted that 68% of adults living with HIV received lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2019 and while the world has made remarkable progress since the late 1990s, HIV AIDS still remains a major global public health issue that faces extra challenges all through the Covid-19 pandemic. In her message, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Winnie Byanyima shared that like all epidemics, it is widening the inequalities that already existed like gender inequality, racial inequality and social and economic inequalities which is making us turn out to be a more unequal world.
The theme this year on World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Have an effect on” which makes it important to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma and call for an increased response to move toward ending the HIV epidemic since it infected 1,700,000 people in 2019 while 6,90,000 died of HIV-related causes final year.
In her motivational speech on World AIDS Day 2020, Byanyima said, “It’s the strength inside communities, inspired by a shared responsibility to one another, that has contributed in great part to our victories over HIV. Today, we need that strength more than ever to defeat the colliding epidemics of HIV and Covid-19. Friends, in responding to Covid-19, the world cannot make the same mistakes it made in the fight against HIV, when millions in developing countries died waiting for remedy.”
Since more than 12 million people are still waiting to receive on HIV remedy even today, Byanyima pointed out that global problems need global solidarity. “Our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic was once already off track before Covid-19. We should put people first to receive the AIDS response back on the right track. We should end the social injustices that put people at risk of contracting HIV. And we should fight for the correct to health. There is not any excuse for governments to not invest fully for universal access to health. Barriers such as up-front user fees that lock people out of health should come down,” she said.
Byanyima concluded, “Girls and women should have their human rights fully respected, and the criminalization and marginalization of homosexual men, transgender people, sex workers and those who use drugs should stop. As we approach the end of 2020, the world is in a dangerous place and the months ahead is probably not easy. Only global solidarity and shared responsibility will help us whip the coronavirus, end the AIDS epidemic and warranty the correct to health for all.”
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