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2030 Vision, Ending AIDS As A Global Health Threat

UNDP’s Collaborative Approach Putting Communities Fight Against AIDS


World AIDS Day, observed on December 1, 2023, holds historical significance in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 1983, activists outlined the Denver Principles manifesto, rejecting the portrayal of individuals with HIV as mere victims. This pivotal moment marked the initiation of the Greater Involvement of People with HIV (GIPA) principle, emphasizing the crucial role of individuals with HIV in shaping the AIDS response.

RELATED INFORMATION World AIDS Day

This day is more than just raising awareness; it aims to provide accurate information about HIV transmission, symptoms, and treatments while combating the associated stigmas.

What is AIDS

AIDS represents the advanced stage of HIV infection, characterized by severe damage to the body’s immune system caused by the virus.

In the United States, the majority of individuals with HIV avoid progressing to AIDS due to the effective management of the disease through prescribed HIV medication.

An individual is considered to have advanced to AIDS when either

  1. Their CD4 cell count drops below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3). (For those with a healthy immune system, CD4 counts range between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR
  2. They manifest one or more opportunistic infections, irrespective of their CD4 count.

In the absence of HIV medication, individuals with AIDS typically survive around 3 years. However, when a dangerous opportunistic illness emerges, life expectancy without treatment diminishes to about 1 year. HIV medication remains beneficial at this stage and can be life-saving. Timely initiation of HIV medicine after contracting the virus yields more significant benefits, underscoring the crucial importance of HIV testing

The significance of World AIDS Day lies in its call to action to dispel misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS. It emphasizes the persistent global challenge, with over 35 million lives claimed, and the ongoing need for accessible antiretroviral treatments. Efforts are crucial to eradicating stigma, which hinders testing and treatment. World AIDS Day encourages individuals to know their HIV status, promoting testing and awareness. Wearing the red ribbon symbolizes solidarity, and initiatives like HIV self-testing and the HIV/AIDS benefit program ensure support and confidentiality for those diagnosed. Expressing support on this day involves education, symbolized by the red ribbon, and contributing to collective efforts against HIV/AIDS

Over the years, strides have been made in antiretroviral treatment, with global numbers increasing from 7.7 million in 2010 to 29.8 million in 2022. However, the stark reality remains that every minute in 2022, AIDS claimed a life, and 9.2 people living with HIV lacked access to treatment. Despite progress, infection and mortality rates are not decreasing rapidly enough to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the AIDS epidemic by the end of this decade.

Countries prioritizing community-centric approaches, such as Botswana and Zimbabwe, have seen significant achievements, surpassing the 95-95-95 testing and treatment targets ahead of the 2025 deadline. These targets entail ensuring 95% of people with HIV know their status, 95% of those aware of their HIV-positive status receive antiretroviral treatment, and 95% of individuals on treatment achieve viral suppression.

Collaborating with key partners like UNAIDS, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Global Fund, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is actively supporting communities. Examples include providing legal aid and psychosocial support to LGBTQI+ organizations in Burundi and maintaining HIV treatment during conflicts in Sudan.

RELATED INFORMATION The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Evidence underscores the detrimental impact of laws criminalizing people with HIV and key populations. Efforts towards decriminalization have made strides globally, yet challenges persist with the introduction of anti-LGBTQI+ laws in some regions. UNDP’s SCALE initiative aims to drive progress on the 10-10-10 targets, focusing on removing punitive laws that hinder HIV responses.

Despite a funding gap for HIV prevention programs in key populations, there is a need to not only increase funding but also prioritize evidence- and rights-based prevention and treatment. As we mark the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2023, the obligation lies with all countries to promote non-discriminatory laws, gender equality, and robust community responses.

READ MORE ARTICLES World Food Day

UNDP, as part of the United Nations family, remains committed to empowering communities, especially those living with HIV and key populations, in leading the way. This commitment is integral to the mission of eradicating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030

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