“World AIDS Day is observed each year on December 1 and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.” (www.worldaidsday.org) This past July the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) was held in Durban, South Africa. The theme this year is Access Equity Rights Now — in other words, everyone, regardless of their economic situation, gender, geographical location, etc should receive the same opportunities to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
Access Equity Rights Now
When Nelson Mandela addressed the 12,000 participants at the XIII International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, no one knew what the future held for the AIDS response. Access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs in 2000 was sharply limited, and donor spending on AIDS activities amounted only to a small fraction of current funding levels.
More than a decade later, the global AIDS response has been transformed. We’ve reached the goal of providing 15 million people with access to life-saving HIV treatment by 2015. Additionally, UNAIDS estimates that from 2002 to 2012, expanded access to HIV treatment averted 4.2 million deaths globally and contributed to a 58% reduction in new HIV infections.
However, many of the obstacles that impeded effective HIV prevention and treatment programs in 2000 still exist today. More than 60% of people living with HIV remain without antiretroviral therapy; including women and girls…
Access Equity Rights Now is a call to action to strengthen the commitment to HIV research evidence-based interventions.
Access Equity Rights Now is a call to action to all HIV stakeholders to unite and overcome injustices caused by violence and the exclusion of people on the basis of gender, class, race, nationality, age, geographic location,
sexual orientation and HIV status.
Access Equity Rights Now is a call to action to repeal laws that infringe on people’s human rights and deny communities the ability to participate in the world as equals.
Access Equity Rights Now reminds us that all our gains will be lost if we do not continue to push forward and build a strong global movement to change the course of the epidemic.
In eastern and southern Africa, for example, three quarters of all new HIV infections among adolescents aged 10–19 years are among adolescent girls. Adolescent girls are often prevented from accessing HIV services owing to gender inequality, a lack of age-appropriate HIV services, stigma, a lack of decision-making power and gender-based violence. In 2014, only 57% of countries globally (of 104 countries reporting) had an HIV strategy that included a specific budget for women. It is estimated that worldwide only three in 10 adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years have comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV. Reaching adolescent girls and young women, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, will be a key factor in ending the AIDS epidemic. (www.unaids.org)
We are passionate about bridging the gap, providing education and necessary treatment through our programs in ROWAN and have seen so many success stories. But the unfortunate truth remains that there is still discrimination and basic human rights denied to so many. Help us to continue to reach out to Mawanga and surrounding communities to share the love of Jesus and give hope for the future while serving this demographic by taking care of medical, social and spiritual needs in their lives.
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