Sunday, December 01, 2013

AIDS can end.

1st of December. It's World AIDS Day. I'd like not to notice this date, I'd like to feel this day wasn't needed. I'd like to find it obsolete, the disease it marks no longer infecting people, causing suffering, ending lives. I hope in my lifetime that will be the case, that I will be able to say 'there used to be this virus called HIV, and it caused this illness called AIDS, and many people died, but they don't anymore, we stopped that. Together we ended the discrimination, and we celebrated all lives, and we healed the suffering, and AIDS is no more'. And progress is being made towards that goal. The numbers have gone down, though they're still extremely high. What can I say that I haven't said before, we just have to do more.

This year the figures are a little lower again, but still unacceptably high. There were 2.3 million new HIV infections in 2012. And there were 1.6 million deaths due to AIDS-related causes. But there are 35.3 million people living with HIV. And there were 9.7 million people in low and middle-income countries with access to antiretroviral treatment at the end of 2012. However, that's out of 28.3 million people 'eligible' for treatment (i.e. in need of it). But I remember when it was considered an 'impossible' goal to get 3 million people in those countries on treatment. So progress is being made. Fewer people are being infected, fewer people are dying, more people are getting access to treatment, and more people are living with the disease. We need to do more. We need not to stop working when an end to this disease is in sight. We can do it. So let's end AIDS.

Delicious as it was, I don't want to eat a World AIDS Day cupcake from my local bakery in 2023.

UNAIDS Global Report 2013

UPDATE 8th January 2014: Had miscopied a figure, so corrected "28.6 million people 'eligible' for treatment" to read "28.3 million."


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