World AIDS Day 2019: Communities Make the Difference

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New Delhi: World AIDS Day, held each year on December 1, is an opportunity to celebrate and support global efforts to prevent new HIV infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge, and support those living with HIV.

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”.

Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind.

Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists.

Of the 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2018, 79% received testing, 62% received treatment, and 53% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus with reduced risk of infecting others, according to the WHO.

Thousands of community health workers and members of the HIV and key population networks – many of whom are living with HIV or affected by the epidemic – contributed to this success.

On World AIDS Day 2019, WHO is highlighting the difference these communities are making to end the HIV epidemic while drawing global attention to the need for their broader engagement in strengthening primary health care.

Since World AIDS Day was first observed more than 30 years ago, progress to prevent and treat HIV has been extraordinary. HIV medicines are available to help people with HIV live long, healthy lives and prevent HIV transmission. In addition, effective HIV prevention methods, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), are available, the WHO said.

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