World AIDS Day

Hi everyone,

First post in a while! It’s been a hectic few weeks, but I must say it’s good to be back. It’s hard to believe that it’s already the first of December, one more month until 2012 is upon us.

Today, though, is a unique day on its own – World AIDS Day. The theme of this year’s AIDS awareness day is “Getting to Zero”, with an end goal of no AIDS-related deaths anywhere in the world. Approximately 30 years ago, the global fight against AIDS began. Now, with 33.3 million people worldwide suffering from HIV, the fight is more important than ever.

Today, incidence rates have dropped by over 25% worldwide. However, awareness is still lower than it should be, considering HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest pandemics the world has had to face, with over 25 million deaths to date.

Richard Elliot, director of the HIV/AIDS Legal Network, believes that the Canadian government is not doing enough to contribute to the fight against AIDS;

“At home, federal funding for HIV has been flat-lined since 2007 and it is unknown whether federal funding will be cut even further next year… Cuts and delays in funding would have serious implications for front-line community services that do HIV prevention and support services, and most importantly, the people who depend on those services.

On the global front, just as we are seeing results from sustained global investments in HIV prevention and treatment, funding is stalling and governments are failing to support what is needed. In 2010, UNAIDS estimated a $10-billion shortfall for a comprehensive and effective global AIDS response.”

UNAIDS came up with a list of ten goals they would like to see accomplished by 2015:

1. Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young
people,men who have sex with men and  transmission in the context of
sex work;

2. Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and  AIDS-related maternal
deaths reduced by half;

3. All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.

4. Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people  living with HIV
who are eligible for  treatment;

5. TB  deaths among people living with HIV reduced by  half;

6. All  people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are
addressed in  all national social protection strategies and have
access to essential  care and support.

7. Countries with punitive laws and practises around HIV transmission,
sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective  responses
reduced by half ;

8. HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence  eliminated in
half of the countries that have such  restrictions;

9. HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in  at least half
of all national HIV  responses;

10. Zero  tolerance for gender-based violence.

As individuals, the best thing to do is simply to be aware; all it takes is a few minutes out of your day to read up on the virus and how it is spread.

Go to http://www.worldaidsday.org/ for more information.

-Michelle

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