Ranjan K Baruah
Are we aware of our HIV status? If not, everyone may try and take the test to know more about it. Latest data says that 9.4 million people living with HIV don’t know their status and 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2017. More over 8.1 million people living with HIV on treatment reported to be accessing viral load testing in 2016. Data speaks many thing and we must be aware on the issues which are related to HIV or AIDS. This year’s theme for World AIDS day is focussing on knowing HIV status.
There has been much progress in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have to do a lot as the latest UNAIDS report shows that people living with HIV who do not know their status. HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives. It is also crucial to achieving the 90–90–90 targets and empowering people to make choices about HIV prevention so they can protect themselves and their loved ones.
Unfortunately, many barriers to HIV testing remain. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. Many people still only get tested after becoming ill and symptomatic.
We should be aware that 37 million people are living with HIV, the highest number ever; yet a quarter do not know that they have the virus. Knowing your HIV status has many advantages. It is an essential entry point to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support services. People who test positive for HIV should be linked immediately to antiretroviral therapy to keep them alive and well.
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response. António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations on his messages said that “thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.” “There is still time — to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma. At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now’, he added. AIDS day is observed around the worlds with different activities. Though there have been much progress but lots need to be done. Stigma and discrimination and deprival of rights could be seen in many places. It is important to win over the diseases so that no one should die due to same. Awareness and then spreading awareness and taking action is a solution for the same.
With inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ranjan K Baruah