Sierra Leone will today join the world to commemorate World Aids Day 2022 with the theme: ‘Equalize’, with three main goals’.
According to the 2021 Prevalence Index, Sierra Leone has an estimated 83,000 people living with HIV. Only about half of those infected are aware of their status, and those who do not know their status pose a high risk of transmission to others.
This year’s 3 main goals are: Increase availability, quality and suitability of services, for HIV treatment, testing and prevention, so that everyone is well-served.
The global HIV response is in danger, even as HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
Over the last few years progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result.
Division, disparity and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.
WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to boldly recognise and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS; and equalise access to essential HIV services particularly for children and key populations and their partners – men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and people in prisons.
There were roughly 4,000 new HIV infections (adults and children) transmitted every day in 2021. 58% of these were in sub-Saharan Africa, with 1.5 million new infections globally in 2021.
New infections are at their highest among girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa, and in 2021 this group accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections.
Most alarmingly of all, only half of children living with HIV have access to life-saving medicine in 2021.
This year’s report makes for troubling reading. In terms of the future, there are four key goals as part of this year’s Equalize campaign.
- All children living with HIV have a right to access to life-saving medicine.
- All people living with HIV have a right to high quality essential services.
- Everyone living with and affected by HIV and AIDS has equal human rights as all global citizens.
- Everyone in all countries has a right to HIV education, prevention and testing services.
Approximately 1.5 million new HIV infections occurred in 2021, while 650,000 people died from AIDS related illnesses last year.