76.1 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic (Picture: NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Friday 1 December is World Aids Day 2017.
This year’s campaign promotes the theme, ‘Right to health’.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with the condition, to reach the goal of universal health coverage by 2030.
HIV is a condition which targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections and some types of cancer.
The virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, thus gradually making infected individuals become immunodeficient.
According to WHO, 54% of adults and 43% of children living with HIV are currently receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART).
More is needed to be done to raise awareness of the condition, however more positively, Global ART coverage for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV is high at 76% .
In 2000, just 685 000 people living with HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy.
However, by June 2017, around 20.9 million people had access to the life-saving medicines.
The African region also accounts for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections with 25.6 million people living with HIV in 2016.
Under the slogan ‘Everybody counts’, the World Health Organisationwould like people with the condition to be able to gain access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines.
People around the world are being asked to join the fight to end the isolation and negative stigma surrounding HIV, and help to stop its transmission.
The aim is detecting HIV early – this is beneficial so that the individual can gain access to specialist treatments early.
How WHO want to achieve universal health coverage:
- Leave no one behind
- HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis services are integrated
- High-quality services are available for those with HIV
- People living with HIV have access to affordable care
- The HIV response is robust and leads to stronger health systems
In the UK alone there are over 100,000 people living with HIV and around a quarter of them don’t know they’re HIV positive.
Knowing whether you’re HIV positive is essential so that you can access specialist services and treatment.
Effective HIV therapy is vital for the well-being of the person affected and helps to prevent them from passing the virus onto others.
The UN’s outline of the ‘Right to health campaign’:
‘Everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, has a right to health, which is also dependent on adequate sanitation and housing, nutritious food, healthy working conditions and access to justice. The right to health is supported by, and linked to, a wider set of rights.
‘Ending AIDS as a public health threat can only happen if these rights are placed at the centre of global health, so that quality health care is available and accessible for everyone and leaves no one behind.
‘This year’s World AIDS Day campaign focuses on the right to health.’