Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. This is a day set aside for reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV. During 2010 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children. Despite a significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over the last five years, there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths in 2010.
The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in low- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
Uganda is often held up as a model for Africa in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Strong government leadership, broad-based partnerships and effective public education campaigns have all contributed to a decline in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Although there is a lot to learn from Uganda’s comprehensive and timely campaign against the AIDS epidemic, emphasising Uganda’s success story must not detract from the huge consequences that AIDS continues to have across the country.
There are an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in Uganda. That includes 150,000 children. Over a million children have been orphaned by this devastating epidemic.
Today I think about those children I know who have been affected and those I will surely come to know.