HIV and AIDS: it isn’t over yet
30 November 2016
Worlds AIDS Day gives us the opportunity not only to look back at the incredible progress which has been made since the start of the epidemic in the early 1980s, but also to look to the future. Although we have made incredible progress towards eradicating AIDS, more than 36 million people across the world are still living with HIV, and it’s vital for them that we continue to make progress.
Last year governments and UN agencies decided that ending AIDS as a serious epidemic by 2030 is a possibility and included this as a target of the Sustainable Development Goals. CAFOD and our partners also think this is possible, but only if we continue to work on HIV in local communities.
Here we share messages from some of our partners overseas and the communities they work with.
Know your HIV status
Globally, around 52 per cent of all people living with HIV do not know they have the virus. To end the epidemic, we need to make sure people living with HIV know their status so they can receive treatment. CAFOD’s partners support people by providing testing services in remote areas, and by reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination through workshops and training.
Once someone has tested positive for HIV, ongoing healthcare is essential to keep them healthy.
Buy our medical outreach team World Gift to support a team of medical professionals to bring essential healthcare to remote communities.
Working with youth is vital
Globally, young people aged 15–24 account for 42 per cent of new HIV infections. It is vital to ensure young people are getting the right support, so we can reduce new infections. Young people in particular find it difficult to take their HIV treatment properly because they don’t want to be different or for others to notice and stigmatise them. Children and young people living with HIV benefit from being part of a network of young people in the same situation as them. This can support them to continue taking treatment.
Support children living with or orphaned by HIV with our Make a child smile World Gift.
HIV stigma reduction
Church leaders can play a significant role in the reduction of HIV and improvement in the lives of people living with HIV, due to the influence and trust they have in some of the poorest and most remote communities. CAFOD and our partners have developed a very successful stigma reduction programme with faith leaders from all faiths.
HIV is still a problem
Around the world, less than half of the people living with HIV do not have access to the treatment they need. If we want to see the end of AIDS by 2030, we need to make sure that we reach these people, who are often the poorest and most marginalised within their communities. We must leave no-one behind. To do this we need strong political will and funding.
You can support World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon in solidarity and by praying for those who are still unable to get the support they need.