1 December, 2008: 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day
The theme for World AIDS Day 2007 and 2008 is “leadership”. Leadership was selected as the theme for World AIDS Day to encourage leaders at all levels to stop AIDS. This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is ‘Lead – Empower – Deliver‘, building on last year’s theme of ‘Take the Lead‘. This theme will continue to be promoted this year with the campaigning slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”
According to NDTV Doctor’s article, this means:
- Leaders in most countries from around the world now acknowledge the threat of AIDS, and many have committed to do something about it. As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV. However, despite these policies, most have not been fully implemented and many lack funding allocations.
- While treatment for HIV and AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1988, many still do not have access to it – in 2007 only 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.
- Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
- While the number of countries protecting people living with HIV continue to increase, one third of countries still lack legal protections and stigma and discrimination continues to be a major threat to universal access.
- More broadly, real action on HIV and AIDS and human rights remains lacking. Legal barriers to HIV services still exist for groups such as women, adolescents, sex workers, people who use drugs, and men having sex with men, and programmatic responses promoting HIV-related human rights have yet to be prioritised.
- To achieve this goal, leadership and action is needed now. Governments must deliver on the promises they have made. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. Individuals must feel empowered to access treatment, to know their rights and take action against stigma and discrimination, and to know and use methods of prevention against receiving and transmitting HIV.
According to 2007 stats released by WHO, an estimated 33.2 million people are now living with HIV, out of which about 2.5 million were newly infected with the virus and 2.1 million died of AIDS the same year.