U N I T E D N A T I O N S / N A T I O N S U N I E S
MESSAGE ON WORLD AIDS DAY
1 December 2018
Thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.
More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness. Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new infections.
Yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition. New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient. Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations— including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants—and young women and adolescent girls. Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.
There is still time -- to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma. At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now.
WORLDS AIDS DAY MESSAGE 2018
1 December 2018
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day. Thirty years of activism and solidarity under the banner of World AIDS Day. Thirty years of campaigning for universal access to life-saving services to treat and prevent HIV. But after 30 years, AIDS is still not over. We have miles to go.
World AIDS Day is a day to remember the millions of people who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses, many of whom died because they couldn’t access HIV services, because of stigma, because of discrimination and because of criminalization of key populations.
On this World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is campaigning for people to know their HIV status and their viral load. In 2017, 9.4 million people were simply unaware that they are living with a potentially deadly, but treatable, disease. If people don’t know their HIV status, people who are living with HIV can’t start treatment, and people who are HIV-negative can’t get the knowledge and skills they need to keep that way. If people don’t know their HIV status, they can’t protect themselves, their families, their partners. If people living with HIV don’t know their viral load, they won’t be sure that the treatment is effective, protecting their health and stopping HIV transmission.
Live life positively. Know your HIV status.