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World AIDS Day 2012 observed Across The Globe

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By Himanshu Guru: Since 1995, 1st December is being observed as the World AIDS Day across the world to spread awareness about AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. The dreadful disease has so far claimed around 30 million lives including children and now about 35 million people worldwide live with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics.

Theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Getting to Zero’ like last year and the same theme will be operative till 2015, when the world expects to see it as a ‘zero AIDS’ place with no HIV infections in any of the countries. The theme ‘Getting to Zero’ is meant for – Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. Today’s campaign will focus on global health initiatives including prevention of new infections, eradicating AIDS-related deaths and removing all stigma and negative attitudes towards AIDS.

But despite the recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care as well as the revolutionary efforts made by social institutions, activists, volunteers and government in many countries, there are still places in the world, where the infection rate is rising instead of going down.

In India too, a huge number of people including activists and volunteers from both the public and private sector, propagate anti-AIDS message strongly through organizing various forums and awareness campaigns. Even the government spends a lot on different schemes and awareness programmes such as the Red Ribbon Express, but still the outcome is discouraging. A report suggests that despite all these sincere efforts made, India stands at the third position among the highest effected HIV affected countries in the world with around 2.4 million people living with AIDS.

Worldwide report on HIV rates indicates that the infection are increasingly seen in people like sex workers, the homo-sexual groups,  the transgender community and people who inject drugs.  It has been further marked that AIDS is increasing mostly in the middle income countries. While around 19 million people are affected with the disease in the middle income countries, the figure is around 12 million for the low income countries.

So, providing financial aid by the international donors to those countries, which cannot do a lot on their own to root out HIV is the greatest need if we are really concerned to achieve a ‘No AIDS’ status.  In this nexus, ‘A golden thread of development’ has been adopted after the G 8 Summit and it is believed that leadership in this arena could help prevent 12.2 million more new HIV infections and prevent 7.4 million more AIDS-related deaths between today and 2020.

Thus it implies that the target of Zero AIDS case established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to completely root out the dreadful disease may not be fulfilled. We have high hopes to see the world as a “No AIDS” zone, but with end in sight.

Hence, on the eve of the World AIDS Day (2012) today let’s take a pledge to do our best towards eradication of HIV and make the world AIDS-free.

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