Reflection on World AIDS Day: HIV/AIDS still matters
By Mabor Chadhuol
World AIDS Day marks a special day of reflection, compassion and unity in the fight against HIV/AIDS around the World. The first ever-global health day has been celebrated on December 1 for more than two decades. The day enables people to show support and passion for HIV positive people and commemorate loved ones who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Today, data estimates from 168 countries show that HIV/AIDS is still a global public health issue. Although, the worldwide HIV/AIDS-related morbidities and mortalities have declined from 1.9 million to 1.0 million in 2005 and 2016 respectively. In 2016, Victoria has had 319 new HIV diagnoses, a rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people. This is approximately 7,800 people living with HIV (in late 2016).
There have been great advances in the last twenty years in helping people understand and be aware of what HIV is. There are still many people in our community unsure and uneducated about people living with HIV. World Aids Day helps reduce this stigma and the day makes it clear that we all have a role in reducing it. World Aids Day emphasises that HIV is an infection and not something that anyone should be judged by.
The more we can do to increase test services for individuals to know their status and protect the community through preventive strategies will make a positive impact on our community. Further campaigns like the Undetectable = Untransmittable have been very successful in promoting the idea that people living with HIV can live long lives without transmitting the virus to others.
The Victorian government acknowledges HIV is still here and matters and World AIDS Day is significant because it prompts the government and public to recognise that HIV has not gone away.
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