Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Wearing a ribbon is a great way to raise awareness on and during the run-up to World AIDS Day.
1 in 5 people living with HIV says that they have needed help with loneliness. Nobody should feel isolated or alone because of their HIV status. Peer support services must be made available across the world so that people can access the help they need, when they need it, and wherever they are.
Three-quarters of people living with HIV who report loneliness and isolation say they haven’t been able to find that help. Thus was born the project Rock the Ribbon Together in 2019 – to stand in solidarity with people living with HIV, raise awareness, challenge stigma, end loneliness, and isolation, and insist that peer support is available for anyone who needs it.
The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which will take place on 1 December 2019, is an important opportunity to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.
Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the center and leaving no one behind. Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, people who inject drugs, women and young people, counselors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists.
World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. Greater mobilization of communities is urgently required to address the barriers that stop communities from delivering services, including restrictions on registration and an absence of social contracting modalities. The strong advocacy role played by communities is needed more than ever to ensure that AIDS remains on the political agenda, that human rights are respected and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable.
Despite the availability of this widening array of effective HIV prevention tools and methods and a massive scale-up of HIV treatment in recent years, new infections among adults globally have not decreased sufficiently. The 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS target is to reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 500 000 by 2020, from more than 1.8 million in 2016.
UNAIDS seeks to boost global and national HIV prevention leadership and accountability and Fast-Track the implementation of effective HIV prevention programmes at the country level by providing guidance on effective approaches to achieve the prevention targets of the 2016 Political Declaration, which include ensuring access to combination prevention options to at least 90% of people at risk by 2020, especially young women and girls in high-prevalence countries and key populations, reaching 3 million people at high risk with PrEP, reaching 25 million men.
WORLD AIDS DAY