WHAT IS WORLD AIDS DAY?
World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December 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.
The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 threatens lives. COVID makes it difficult and dangerous for frontline health workers to deliver continuous, high quality HIV services to everyone who needs them. Sickness and restricted movement make it difficult for people living with HIV to access services. Economic disruption caused by COVID can make HIV services unaffordable or unobtainable. And the pandemic may interfere with supply chains and service delivery. For example, as of July 2020, one third of people on HIV treatment had experienced drug stockouts or interruptions in supplies. Supply disruptions such as these are devastating; a WHO and UNAIDS modeling study showed that six-month disruption in access to HIV medicines could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 alone.
Now is the time to once again make a leap in the response to work together to end COVID-19 and get back on track to end HIV by 2030. On World AIDS Day 2020, WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 on the HIV response. WHO has chosen to focus on “Global solidarity, resilient HIV services” as the WHO theme for World AIDS Day this year.
The key actions are:
- Renew the fight to end HIV. The global AIDS response has slowed down: it’s time now to invest, to innovate HIV services with broader health care and the pandemic response to get back on track to end HIV by 2030. Missing the global targets for HIV for 2020 should not be a setback but a renewed call to do better.
- Use innovative HIV services to ensure continued HIV care. There are many new approaches countries are adopting to ensure HIV care during the pandemic. WHO has recommended multi-month prescriptions of HIV medicines to protect the health of people on HIV treatment and to reduce the burden on overburdened health services.
- Engage and protect our nurses, midwives and community health workers. Urging policymakers to ensure that frontline health workers, nurses, midwives, and community health workers are engaged and protected when delivering services for HIV and COVID-19.
- Prioritize the vulnerable – youth and key populations. Ensuring that children, adolescents, and members of key and vulnerable populations affected by HIV do not fall through the cracks of health care disruptions during COVID-19. Key populations include people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, and people in prisons that are disproportionately affected by HIV.
Join World AIDS Day on 1 December 2020 from 13:00 to 14:30 Geneva time (Central European Time). The event will cover global efforts to ensure global solidarity and resilient HIV services, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The speakers will include:
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO)
Honourable Lizzy Nkosi, Minister of Health, The Kingdom of Eswatini
Mr Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Ms Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV (UNAIDS)
Dr J.V.R. Prasada Rao, Former Secretary of Health, India and Former SG’s Envoy for AIDS in in Asia and the Pacific
Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO
Dr Meg Doherty, Director, Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes, WHO
Ms Cindy Amaiza, National Coordinator, Y+ Kenya
Ms Sasha Volgina, Programme Manager, Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, President, International AIDS Society (IAS)
Ms Erica Burton, Senior Advisor, International Council of Nurses (ICN)
Dr Alex Schneider, Founder, Life4me+
Mr Asghar Satti, National Coordinator, Association of People Living with HIV (APLHIV), Pakistan
The webinar is open to anyone without registration.
Connect to WHO World AIDS Day event via this ZOOM Link.
Learn how submit questions in advance or during the conversation.