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Over 38M people in the world live with HIV

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By Mercy Kelani

Celebration of this day eradicates discrimination against HIV patients.

World AIDS Day, first observed in 1988 and recognized as the first ever global health day, is a day that unites people across the world to fight against HIV, express support for those living with HIV, and enable commemoration of those who died from an AIDS-related illness. The day gives people an opportunity to solidarize with the many millions of people worldwide who live with HIV. Awareness of this day is mostly raised by the wearing of an HIV awareness ribbon.

Across the globe, an estimation of over 38 million people lives with the HIV virus. The emergence and identification of the virus since 1984 has led to the death of more than 35 million people, tagging it as one of the deadliest pandemics in the world’s history. In Nigeria, according to Statista Research Development in 2021, about 1.5 million people live with HIV, with women being the most affected group. Benue State was also said to have the highest HIV rate in the country.

2022 World AIDS Day aims at equalizing access to HIV services.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2022 is “Equalize” and would be commemorated on the annual December 1. World Health Organization (WHO) urges global leaders and citizens to publicly observe and take cognizance of the inequalities which are hindering progress in the eradication of AIDS and equalize access to important HIV services especially for children. These services are also made accessible to the major population, transgender people, drug addicts, sex workers and those in prison.

WHO promised a renewed focus on populations that have been neglected in the global response to HIV and AIDS. Currently, only 52 percent of all children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment. Therefore, ensuring progress in eradicating newly emerging infections among children and making sure they are all on quality antiretrovirals (ARVs) would build stronger hope and would likely enable greater political commitment for the total elimination of AIDS in populations across the world by 2030.

Nigeria had the world’s second highest burden of HIV/AIDS in 2015.

According to UNICEF, Nigeria is rated to have the world’s second highest burden of HIV/AIDS with an estimation of 3 million people living with the virus in 2015 and almost 200,000 new infections. In 2015, approximately 260,000 children from age 0-14 were living with HIV in Nigeria with an emergence of 41,000 new infections amongst children and only 17 percent of these children having access to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). However, to curb this situation, UNICEF supports the federal government’s vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by revitalizing Primary Health Care (PHC).

In the 2000s, HIV/AIDS was a major issue as an estimation of 7 million people in the country had the infection. The prevalence rate among adults from age 15-49 in 2008 was 3.9 percent; in 2018, the prevalence rate among adults aged 15-65 was 1.5 percent. Statistically, women were mostly affected by the infection. Also, the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) was the largest presented statistics which revealed that the total numbers were lower than expected.

ART helps prevent risk of transmitting HIV through sex.

The treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy (ART) and involves daily taking of a combination of medicines known as HIV regimen. Although ART is unable to provide a complete cure, HIV patients are advised to begin taking these medicines as soon as possible as will help them live longer and healthier lives and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus. The treatment aims at reducing a positive patient’s viral load to an undetectable level as it helps them have low risk of transmitting HIV to their negative partner through sex.


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