The World AIDS Day is observed on December 1, each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS – related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day.
In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection, and economic growth.
AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is caused by the spread of the life-threatening human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which attacks the immune system of the patient and significantly reduces the body’s resistance to other diseases.
On a global level, there are approximately 38 million people who are living with HIV. It was first discovered in 1984 and since then, this virus has killed more than 35 million people, making it one of the most deadly pandemics in human history.
Each year, World AIDS day is observed with a particular theme in mind. For 2020, the theme is, “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact”, which will focus on creating global solidarity among people who live with HIV and also seek to destigmatize the health issue. The theme also focuses on the importance of providing resilient care and support even during the coronavirus pandemic.
The global theme for last year’s World AIDS Day was ‘Communities make the difference.’ This was in recognition of the important leadership and advocacy done by communities to ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded. Uganda proceeded with the customized theme ‘Empowering Young People to champion the end of new HIV infections’.
This theme has been running in the country during the year to build-up attention on young People as an important community that constitutes majority of the Ugandan population. Young people between 15 – 24years are responsible for 34% of new HIV infections annually.
Last year’s national commemoration for World AIDS Day was hosted at Busana Playground Kayunga District located in Central Uganda. Kayunga district venue was chosen due to the high HIV prevalence currently at 7.3%, high presence of most at risk populations including the Fisher-folks and migrant workers, as well as high teenage pregnancy rate currently at 24%.
The Uganda AIDS Commission reported around 1000 infections every week accounting for a total of 53,000 new HIV infections by the end of 2019. The 2019 national commemoration in Uganda was ushered in by the Philly Lutaaya Public Memorial lecture.