‘Get Tested’ Dialog and Discussion on World Aids Day
As part of the UNAIDS campaign to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the UN Health group held an event on World Aids Day to raise awareness.
As part of the UNAIDS campaign to end HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the UN held an event on World Aids Day to raise awareness of the impact that HIV and AIDS is having worldwide. This event also showed support for people living with HIV and commemorated those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Raising awareness of the dangers of the virus and learning how to fight it were discussed at length during the UN event. Representatives from the French, British and USA embassies tackled many issues including sharing their own country's experience in supporting the “Get tested” initiative, innovative ways to tackle HIV, the role civil society plays in destigmatising HIV/AIDS and the need for society to embrace regular HIV testing.
The WHO Country Office also honoured Worlds Aids Day by setting up a mobile HIV testing lab. UN Staff and participants wore red ribbon and were able to get a free and confidential HIV test with results available within 24 hours. This event was a tremendous opportunity to show support and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world.
In the opening speech, Ms.Shaheen Nilofer, Resident Coordinator a.i. and UNICEF Representative noted: “World AIDS Day is an important reminder to the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education”.
The HIV epidemic continues to rise at an alarming pace in the European Region, mostly in the eastern region, which is home to almost 80 percent of the 160,000 new HIV diagnoses. This is the highest number of new cases ever recorded in one year. If this trend persists, we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.
One in two people living with HIV in Europe is diagnosed late. Testing people late, particularly those at higher risk of infection, results in late treatment and further contributes to the ongoing spread of the virus.
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day implemented by the United Nations. It was held for the first time in 1988. Ending the AIDS epidemic is one of the key health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and will inspire broader global health and development efforts. In 2016, 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. During the same year, 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.