World AIDS Day (2020)
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the most severe stage of HIV, is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV causes severe damage to the immune system by interfering with the body's natural ability to fight infection and disease, consequently increasing susceptibility to opportunistic infections.
Hence in response (1988), the United Nations declared the 1st of December as World AIDS day, marking the first international day for global health focused on remembering those who have died from AIDS related illnesses, supporting individuals currently living with HIV and raising awareness on the matter.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 38 million people are currently living with HIV (2019). Moreover, HIV continues to present itself as a major global public health issue, resulting in approximately 33 millions deaths as of this year.
Therefore, every year community health workers, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations and governments unite efforts to address various HIV related themes and aid in achieving the goals of “The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All” and thereby accelerating progress in health centered Sustainable Developments Goals (SGGs).
On World AIDS Day, it is vital to encourage concerted global efforts to ensure that people living with HIV can lead a long and healthy life by tackling gaps in HIV services. The need for an intensification of efforts is necessary now more than ever considering the disruptions of HIV services during COVID-19 and the general decrease in public health responses catering to HIV.
Within that context, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights urges states, the international community, governmental and non-governmental organizations, to intensify efforts in effectively combating the AIDs epidemic by increasing access to effective HIV diagnosis, prevention and care, as well as curating development and policy programmes on HIV prevention.
Furthermore, the Institute appeals to all states to utilize the necessary measures to ensure that individuals with AIDS enjoy their full human rights, are treated with respect and dignity and ensure their equitable access to health and psychological services.