Rwanda’s First Lady Jeanette Kagame believes that the HIV/AIDS fight can be won but it requires global partnerships to eradicate the deadly virus that has claimed millions of lives globally.
“The fight against AIDS can be won, but it requires unwavering global partnerships. It is, therefore, a call to us all to join this cause by recommitting to invest in human capital and building a foolproof system, as the surest way to reach our goals and sustain them,” Mrs. Kagame tweeted on Tuesday 1st December.
Every year, the world celebrates World AIDS day on 1st December. On this day, the world takes time to reflect upon the worldwide response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic by remembering the millions of lives lost over the past four decades, celebrates achievements over the past year, and pledges to work in even more inclusive and innovative ways over the coming year.
The World AIDS Day 2020 themed “Global solidarity, resilient services” aims at reminding communities to work together, focus on impact by using data to deliver high quality, people-centered HIV prevention, and treatment services to those most in need.
The celebration of World AIDS day aims at tackling stigma and discrimination and empowering communities. It also reaffirms the essential role of resilience, which enables individuals and communities to meet the challenge of HIV/AIDS even in times of adversity.
According to Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, HIV prevention, testing, and treatment are all being disrupted worldwide particularly in countries where healthcare infrastructure is weak.
“Breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 is threatening lives,” she said.
“We must fight on with passion and we must keep human rights at the center of our societies and of our health systems or we will not end the HIV epidemic.”
The United Nations indicates that globally, 12.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS still don’t have access to treatment and an estimated 38,000,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2019.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed almost 33 million lives so far.
By June 2020, 26 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, marking a 2.4% increase from an estimate of 25.4 million at the end of 2019 while 85% of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV also received antiretroviral therapy(ART), according to WHO.
“Health is a human right – and universal health coverage must be a top investment priority. To overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.