The global community joined together on December 1st to mark World AIDS Day 2013. December 1st was an opportunity to learn the facts about HIV, show support for those living with the disease and remember those who have lost their lives.
United through the symbolic ‘red ribbon,’ the international symbol of HIV awareness and support, World AIDS Day encourages people around the world to learn more about the disease (a virus that attacks the body’s immune system) and turn their knowledge into action by taking care of their own health, the health of others and working to ensure that those living with HIV are treated fairly.
While science has progressed, and public awareness and education has expanded, 34 million people worldwide are still living with HIV, according to the 2012 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report.
While the number of new infections among children worldwide fell by 24% between 2009 and 2011, there were 1.7 million AIDS related deaths reported in 2011 by UNAIDS. World AIDS Day 2013 is a reminder that HIV awareness and support is important to be continued all year round. Giant steps have been made in the fight against HIV, but there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that people know and understand the facts to not only protect themselves and others but also to break down the walls of prejudice and discrimination for those who suffer from HIV.
Some key facts about HIV:
• In 2011, there were 300,000 people living with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa
• MENA is the only region in the world yet to see a decline in the number of children acquiring HIV
• There has been an increase in the numbers of AIDS related deaths between 2005 – 2011 in the MENA region
• HIV can affect people of all ages
• The most common treatment today for someone who is diagnosed with HIV early is one or two pills a day
• You can get the results of a HIV test in just 15 – 20 minutes
• There is no vaccine or cure for HIV
To find out more about HIV, visit the World AIDS Day 2013 website and make the commitment to stop the spread, build awareness and tolerance and find a cure for HIV globally.