The fourth decade on HIV/AIDS and 34 million people still living with HIV worldwide. An estimated 2.7 million new infections occurred in 2010, meaning 0.038% incidence rate globally. With 6.6 million people currently on antiretroviral treatment, lives of 2.5 million people have been averted from AIDS-related deaths so far. But the annual investment required to maintain this momentum has estimated to be atleast 24 billion dollars (US).
The theme of this year is "Getting to Zero" with much pronounced three of its' key ingredients: zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. On the road to getting these zeroes, the UNAIDS have set the milestones for 2015 as:
- Zero vertical transmission and a 50% reduction in AIDS-related maternal death
- A 50% reduction in the sexual transmission of HIV
- No new HIV infections among drug users
- Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment
- A 50% reduction in deaths caused by tuberculosis for people living with HIV
- Improved national social protection strategies and access to essential care and support for people with HIV and households affected by HIV
- A 50% reduction in the number of countries that have punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses
- A 50% reduction in the number of countries with HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence
- The HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses
- Zero tolerance for gender-based violence
(Courtesy: UN Secretary General's office and UNAIDS)
On this occasion of 2011 World AIDS Day, AHRN/Asian Harm Reduction Network truly endorses the theme of this year and reaffirms to commit to the best of its abilities to contribute in achieving these set milestones.
However, AHRN would like to once again reiterate on this occasion that there still is much work to be done. Disparities in funding and the disproportionate impact of HIV among certain demographics and regions continue to plague and hinder those involved in the HIV/AIDS response.
The gap between people impacted by the epidemic and people who decide on mitigating the impact is unimaginably wide apart, such enormous disparity and incoherence leads to failure in yielding a substantial outcome. New issues and new problems lead to insurmountable challenges.
Many policies and practices have already been proven failed but we prefer to continue embracing them and reinvent the same old cycle time and again.
Our key message to the world is: 'it is time now to accept the facts and act on them before your decisions and our actions can no longer make any differences, leading us to ZERO goal, mission and vision'.
As a special message to those colleagues and friends of communities impacted by HIV/AIDS: 'AHRN extend its endless support and share sincere grief and hardships that you are facing at every moments and steps of your lives. We hope you continue your dream, accept the terms of life and act upon with a will to find the ways to make that dream come true'.
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.