1 December marks World AIDS Day, which is commemorated around the world every year. This is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS by remembering those who have lost their lives to the virus, supporting those infected and affected by HIV /AIDS, and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. The United Nations theme for 2016 is “Hands Up for #HIVprevention”.
Hands Up campaign
The Hands Up for #HIVprevention campaign aims to focus on various aspects of HIV prevention, and how these relate to specific groups of society, such as young women, people infected with HIV/AIDS and adolescent girls, among others.
“The campaign will cover aspects of HIV prevention, such as condoms and lubricants, harm reduction, PrEP, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, testing and viral suppression. It will also explore how to address the barriers that prevent adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV from accessing and using these services.” – (Source)
Five Prevention Pillars
The UNAIDS Prevention Gap Report lists five pillars for achieving less than 500 000 new infections by 2020. These pillars are also listed in the United Nations General Assembly prevention targets for 2020 within the 2016 political declaration on HIV and AIDS. The five pillars are the following:
- Young women and adolescent girls and their males partners
“Ensure that 90% of people at risk of HIV infection access comprehensive prevention services, including harm reduction, by 2020. Reduce below 100 000 per year the number of adolescent girls and young women aged 15 – 24 years newly infected with HIV globally by 2020.” – (Source)
- Key populations
“Ensure that 90% of people at risk of HIV infection access comprehensive prevention services, including harm reduction by 2020.” – (Source)
- Condom programmes
“Make 20 billion condoms annually available in low- and middle-income countries by 2020.” – (Source)
- Voluntary medical male circumcision
“Reach 25 million additional young men in high HIV incidence areas with voluntary medical male circumcision by 2020.” – (Source)
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
“Reach 3 million people at higher risk of HIV infection with pre-exposure prophylaxis by 2020.” – (Source)
Get involved and spread awareness
The Hands Up for #HIVprevention campaign has created a platform to engage society by asking people to express their views on what needs to be done to strengthen HIV prevention.
To participate, you can opt to create a short video message (maximum 30 seconds) explaining your views or write a short phrase on the palm of your hand with your view and take a photograph of it. You can then share your video or photo on the UNAIDS Facebook page as well as on your own Facebook page to help spread the message.
Despite all the gains made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the availability of prevention methods and lifesaving medication, more can still be done to reach the 2020 goals of reducing the infection rate, especially among young women and adolescent girls, and high risk groups as set out by the United Nations General Assembly.
Get involved in the campaign, and help get information out to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.