Today Marks The 26th International World AIDS Day. The Battle Still Continues Across The World To Fight The Spread And Stigma Of The Disease. Use Today To Help Create Awareness Of AIDS.
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have lost their life to the disease. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day with the first one being held in 1988.
Currently, there are 35 million people in the world that are living with AIDS, with Africa recording the highest number of people. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, as well as mostly low to middle income countries are worst affected by the epidemic. 71% of the entire world’s recorded number of people living with AIDS are from Sub Saharan Africa. That is a total of 24.7 million people.
AIDS And HIV In South Africa
In South Africa, Kwa-Zulu Natal has recorded the highest number of people affected by the disease in the country according to statistics released earlier in the year. In another truly alarming statistic, South Africa has recorded the highest number of newly infected HIV patients in the world. There were 400 000 people infected in 2012!
Awareness of the spread of HIV and AIDS prevention is vital, especially to Kwa-Zulu Natal, where more and more people are contracting HIV. Women aged between 30 and 34 and males aged 35 to 39 had the highest infection rates. 36% of females and 28.8% of males in these respective age groups contracted HIV in a survey conducted by Human Sciences Research Council.
According to this survey, the increased infection rate is “largely due to the combined effects of new infections and a successfully expanded antiretroviral treatment [ART] programme.” ARTs have been allowing people with HIV to live significantly longer, thus leading to greater percentage of HIV-infected people remaining in society. ART access almost doubled between 2008 and 2012, with about a third of the country’s HIV-infected population, which is about two-million accessing ART in 2012. The total number of recorded HIV infected people is about 6.4 million people.
Women Recorded With Highest New Infection Rate
The HIV incidence rate among females aged 15 to 24 has been recorded as more than four times higher than the incidence rate found in males in this group according to HSRC. Amongst teenagers, the difference between the HIV prevalence between girls and boys is even higher: girls have eight times the infection rate against males.
“Unfortunately, with over 400 000 new HIV infections occurring in 2012, South Africa ranks first in HIV incidence in the world,” said the HSRC’s Thomas Rehle and one of the principal investigators of the survey.
Black African females aged 20 to 34 recorded the highest incidence of HIV among all the analysed population groups.
Despite the drive towards educating many about HIV and AIDS, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV.
World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV and AIDS is claiming many, especially the youth of our country. There is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. So today we ask you to make sure that you share information you have on this epidemic and help prevent someone you know becoming a victim.