World AIDS Day aims to spread awareness about the deadly disease.
World AIDS Day is an occasion to reiterate the fact that the world can successfully overcome the deadly disease caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Every year, it is celebrated on December 1 to spread awareness about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and support those living with the disease. This year, UNAIDS, the United Nations body advocating for comprehensive and coordinated global action on AIDS, has given the theme 'Let Communities Lead'. On a special webpage, the UN body has explained the reason behind choosing this year's theme.
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"The world can end AIDS, with communities leading the way. Organisations of communities living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV are the frontline of progress in the HIV response. Communities connect people with person-centred public health services, build trust, innovate, monitor implementation of policies and services, and hold providers accountable," said UNAIDS.
It then highlighted how funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles, capacity constraints and crackdowns on civil society are obstructing the progress of HIV prevention and treatment services.
World AIDS Day 2023 seeks to unleash the full potential of community leadership to enable the end of AIDS.
UNAIDS also suggested a three-point solution to empower the communities that can then lead the fight against AIDS. These include giving communities leadership roles, providing them proper funding and enabling a regulatory environment to facilitate communities' role in provision of HIV services.
On Tuesday, UNAIDS released its annual World AIDS Day report in which it underlined that it is still possible to reach the "end of AIDS" by 2030 if communities and services on the ground are given the means.
"The message of this report is one of active hope. Although the world is not currently on track to end AIDS as a public health threat, it can get on track," UNAIDS said in the report.
The UN first set out in 2015 the target of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
"Harmful laws and policies towards people at risk of HIV - including sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people and people who use drugs - puts the communities trying to reach them with HIV services under threat," the report further said.
There are 39 million people around the world living with HIV - the virus that causes AIDS. Of them, 20.8 million are in eastern and southern Africa and 6.5 million are in Asia and the Pacific.