World AIDS Day Through a Mental Health Perspective

Henrietta Strickland
December 9, 2019

The theme for the 2018 World AIDS Day commemoration is "Know Your Status" which brings into spotlight the importance of urging people to know their HIV infection status by getting tested.

What more can be done to increase awareness and combat the increasing numbers of those affected with HIV and AIDS? To date, there are 763 people living with HIV in the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean with 95,000 inhabitants.

The report recommends routine HIV testing, which could lessen the stigma associated with testing and help people get diagnosed sooner - or at all. Half of those who entered into care with the Manitoba HIV program in 2017 had no insurance coverage at all, had co-pays to consider or were on insurance plans with finite terms. An estimated 120,000 children and adolescents aged 0-19 were living with HIV in India in 2017, the highest number in South Asia, according to a UNICEF report released on Thursday, 'Children, HIV and AIDS: The World in 2030.' The report warned that around 80 adolescents will be dying of AIDS every day globally by 2030 if progress in preventing transmission is not accelerated.

The reason behind this year's important theme is due to a report by UNAIDS highlighting that only 75 percent of people living with HIV are aware of their status, meaning that that 9.4 million people aren't aware that they're HIV-positive as they haven't been tested.

"We need to keep spreading awareness from HIV-infected African American individuals, African American celebrities, all social and traditional media, church groups, doctors, politicians and other influential people in our global and local communities".

Almost a million people still die every year from AIDS.

Thirty years on, we understand much more about HIV/AIDS - which has lead to advances in prevention, medication and treatment.

The virus quickly became one of the most deadly pandemics, with over 35 million recorded deaths. Poorly understood, too, was how it was spread; public awareness campaigns had to convince people that you couldn't catch it from holding hands, or from a toilet seat.

The red ribbon has become the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. Across Canada, some 63,000 people live with HIV, including 1,318 in Manitoba. If there are two lines, even if the second is not very clear, there is a possibility that the person might be HIV positive.

Russian Federation and some former Soviet Union countries risk developing out-of-control HIV epidemics, experts said on Wednesday, after data showed a record number of new cases a year ago. Although these advancements are awesome, they have contributed to the notion that HIV is no longer a concern when in actuality access to medical advancements along with prevention tools such as condoms are not readily available across the globe.

This year, we're celebrating the 20 anniversary of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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