This year, World AIDS Day is guided by one salient message: “Equalize”.
As we are reminded by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS: "The inequalities which perpetuate the AIDS pandemic are not inevitable; we can tackle them …
“The “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS.”
According to UNAids, “The risk of acquiring HIV is 26 times higher among gay men and other men who have sex with men… 30 times higher for sex workers, and 13 times higher for transgender people. Every week, about 4,500 young women aged 15 – 24 years acquire HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, 5 in 6 new infections among adolescents aged 15 – 19 years are among girls. Young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men. Only 53 per cent of children 0 – 14 years who are living with HIV have access to the HIV treatment that will save their lives.”
UNFPA has seen how the COVID-19 and the HIV viruses have created a compounding impact on those most vulnerable. In Sri Lanka, where individuals have experienced limited access to testing and awareness during the height of the pandemic, UNFPA has been able to provide support through sponsoring peer educators under the UNFPA Strategic Alliance for Research and Development.
This year, let’s recognize the need to amplify responses to ensure that marginalized populations receive the support which is needed.
Let’s end HIV & AIDS. Let’s Equalize.