Word Aids Day 2020 theme, significance: According to the World Health Organisation, in 2019, 38,000,000 people were living with HIV, 1,700,000 people were newly infected with HIV and 690,000 people died of HIV-related causes. These figures show how crucial is the fight against HIV-AIDS. “HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care services are all being disrupted particularly in countries with fragile health systems. The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 is threatening lives. Any slowing down in provision of these services will leave many vulnerable populations at greater risk of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths,” WHO said. The global health body has exhorted global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID-19 and beyond.
On World Aids Day 2020, the WHO has called for “Renew our fight to end HIV”, “Use innovative HIV services to ensure continued HIV care”, “Engage and protect our nurses, midwives, and community health workers”, and “Prioritize the vulnerable – youth and key populations”.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said, “With the world’s attention focused on the COVID-19 crisis, World AIDS Day is a reminder of the need to maintain focus on another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged. Despite significant successes, the AIDS emergency is not over. HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690 000. And inequalities mean that those who are the least able to stand up for their rights are still the most affected. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the world. Inequalities in health affect all of us. No one is safe unless we all are safe.”
As per the latest HIV estimates report (2019) of the central government, India is estimated to have around 23.49 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in 2019. The HIV epidemic has an overall decreasing trend in the country with estimated annual New HIV infections declining by 37 per cent between 2010 and 2019, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement on September 20 this year.