'COVID-19 has impacted severely on people on HIV treatment'

Deputy President David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza

The World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1, is an global day dedicated to raising awareness about the spread of the AIDS epidemic and mourning those who have died of the disease.

He also underscored the importance of providing financial aid and humanitarian care to infected people who are in difficulty and giving full play to the role of society in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. "Much like the COVID-19 pandemic we now confront, the science and realities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic showed us how interconnected we all are as fellow Americans and fellow human beings".

In a new report, Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre, UNAIDS wants countries to make far greater investments in global pandemic responses and to adopt a new set of HIV targets such as reducing discrimination, stigma and punishment related to the illness.

"At present, 92% of people living with HIV know their status". However, the rapid spread of the coronavirus has created additional setbacks.

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"The collective failure to invest sufficiently in comprehensive, rights-based, people-centered HIV responses has come at a bad price", Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of UNAIDS, said in a press release.

"On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that, to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility", he said.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts access to HIV treatment and prevention services worldwide and threatens to roll back progress in fighting the latter pandemic, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is using World AIDS Day as an opportunity to call for a scaled-up HIV response in the crucial coming years.

It suggests that if those targets are met, the world will be back on track to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. "No country can defeat these pandemics on its own. We can do this by sharing the load and working together". Greg Hunt MP has today (World AIDS Day) announced an initiative to ensure access to life-saving antiretroviral medicine to all in Australia living with HIV, regardless of Medicare eligibility. Additionally, each year, we and our partners reach more than 1.2 million individuals in key populations, who are most at risk of contracting HIV, with prevention interventions.

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