At the turn of the new millennium, HIV was sweeping the globe largely unchecked and a diagnosis was usually a death sentence.
We have come a long way in the fight to end AIDS since then. New HIV infections are down by more than 40% since their peak in the 90’s. Through vital medical and technological progress, we can now envision a world without AIDS – something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
We are at a critical moment in the fight against AIDS; we can’t afford to become complacent now or forget that AIDS is still an emergency for millions of people.
Although so much progress has been made, we must act now if we want to end this disease once and for all. Here are ten key reasons why we need to keep up the fight against AIDS:
There are 38 million people currently living with HIV around the world, and nearly 26 million live in sub-Saharan Africa; with nearly 1.8 million living in Kenya.
New HIV infections have declined by more than half since their peak in 2004, but last year there were still 1.7 million people newly infected with the virus.
AIDS kills more young people (aged 15-29) than any other disease worldwide.
Globally, young women are 60% more likely than young men to contract HIV. This alarming gap is due to poverty, gender inequality, and insufficient access to education and sexual reproductive health services.
Each week, 6,000 young women contract HIV. That’s more than 850 women every single day.
Today, 400 babies will be born with HIV — the same thing tomorrow, and the day after that.
Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), allow people living with HIV to lead full, healthy lives. This life-saving medication can also help mothers living with HIV to give birth to HIV-free babies.
Though ARV coverage has increased by more than 3000% since 2000, there are still 14.6 million people living with HIV who don’t have access to treatment.
770,000 people died last year of AIDS-related illnesses. That translates to about 3 people every 2 minutes. In Kenya, approximately 26,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses last year.
Every 3 minutes, a teenager is infected with HIV. In fact, in the time it takes you to read this post, a teenager will have been infected with a virus that is both preventable and treatable.
So as the world commemorates World AIDS Day, the Alfred Polo Foundation would like to give thanks – to the governments and private sector leaders who increased their commitments to tackling HIV/AIDS, to the activists who wouldn’t give up, and above all, to the real superheroes: the nurses and health workers who fight these diseases day in and day out in their communities.