World AIDS DAY - 1 December 2008

December 1st, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

World AIDS DAYToday is World AIDS Day. A day set by the health ministers around the world to engender a spirit of social tolerance and greater awareness of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) on an international scale. This day will be observed with some 33 million people living with the virus in 2007, a report of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) showed.

Also to draw an attention to the world and remind them to keep commitments they have made to fight the deadly disease. The theme of this year’s event is “Leadership”, with the slogan “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise.”

Sub-Saharan Africa is yet the most highly and heavily affected by HIV, accounting for 67 percent of all HIV cases and for 72 percent of AIDS deaths in 2007.

Infections in most countries there have begun to decline but nations like Kenya had registered a rise in infection from 6.7 percent in 2003 to 8.5 percent in 2007. The report,shows that there are “high infection levels” among “injecting drug users, men who have sex with men and sex workers” in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. To effectively contain HIV/AIDS, the UNAIDS has underscored the need to address “societal causes of HIV risk and vulnerability.”

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) had registered a total of 59 new infections in October, bringing to 3,515 the total number of HIV/AIDS cases recorded since January 1984.

Amala Reddy, the UNAIDS regional advisor for Strategic Information says there are 75 million men who patronize commercial sex from about 10 million Asian women and another 20 million men “who have sex with men or injecting drug users.”

In its “2008 Report on Global AIDS Epidemic,” UNAIDS said the rate of new infections has gone down in several countries but this “favorable” trend has been “partially offset” by increases in new infections in other nations.

“The overall number of people living with HIV has increased as a result of the ongoing number of new infections each year and the beneficial effects of more widely available antiretroviral therapy,” UNAIDS said. HOwever, UNAIDS records showed that 75 million Asian men “buy sex regularly” making them “key drivers” of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia-Pacific.

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