Today is World AIDS Day.The world is talking of achievements and drawbacks in the field of HIV and AIDS.
As the World celebrates this day,we would not ignore the fact that so much has been achieved even though,i would say,we lack much more than we have achieved.
The theme for this day is 'Universal Access and Human Rights' .
Does the HIV Positive Community have access to Universal Care and Treatment? Are our rights as human beings respected? The ansewr to both questions is "no".Women suffer most in both cases.
Statistics show that at least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.Violence against women and girls is both a cause and a consequence of HIV; women’s exposure to violence increasing their vulnerability to HIV infection; and for many women, the fear of violence prevents them from disclosing their HIV-positive status or seeking help and treatment. By now we know that it is not possible to address HIV&AIDS without tackling violence against women and girls
An estimated 33.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and there are some 2.7 million new infections each year. Globally, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of mortality among women of reproductive age.
The biological make up of women and their socio economic status increases their vulnerability to HIV.
WHO recommends that countries phase out the use of Stavudine, or d4T, still widely used in first-line therapy in developing countries due to its low cost and widespread availability, because of long-term irreversible side-effects. Zidovudine (AZT) or Tenofovir (TDF) are recommended as less toxic and equally effective alternatives.
This recommendation is not effected speedily in developing countries because of the low costs.People Living With AIDS are saved from death but have to live with permanent pain and deformities.
Good leadership right from the top,the Governments down to the grassroots will contribute highly to positive steps in the prevention of HIV.
Achievements have been realized,but People Living With AIDS still undergo lots of discrimination in communities and work places.Children suffer the same.Majority of the people in the world have not been tested foe HIV.Majority of Kenyans have not tested for HIV.This case applies to majority of countries in the world.Unfortunately,those who have not tested are regarded as being HIV negative.They too regard themselves so and hence are not confident of going in for testing.All this drawback is caused by stigma that sorrounds HIV.
I would like to hear comments from organizations and individuals working on this,and the achievements so far.I am sure there is plenty that we can share and find way forward on all this.
I would print a book on this issue.AIDS is regarded as "Old News".I know it will surely get old,but only when there is a vaccine and treatment,and effective prevention.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to World Aids Day 2009: Universal Access and Human Rights.