AIDS: The Other Pandemic
Photo Courtesy of AHF

AIDS: The Other Pandemic

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By Julie Pascault (Courtesy of AHF)

This World AIDS Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is announcing the timely theme – “AIDS: The Other Pandemic.” This new theme and corresponding logo serve as a reminder to the world that even in times of a new pandemic, HIV/AIDS remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases in history and must be kept high on the global public health agenda.

AHF welcomes everyone worldwide – organizations and individuals alike – to utilize the theme “AIDS: The Other Pandemic.”

Even though HIV/AIDS is treatable and preventable, 38 million people are still living with HIV worldwide. There are 1.7 million new infections annually, and an estimated 690,000 people still die from HIV/AIDS-related causes every year. An estimated 12.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS are still not accessing lifesaving treatment.

“COVID-19 has stolen the headlines and devastated communities worldwide, but we must not forget the pandemic that has been raging for more than 30 years and still affects millions of people globally,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy. “It’s absolutely vital that world leaders also keep their attention on HIV this World AIDS Day and beyond – and campaigns like ‘AIDS: The Other Pandemic’ are just one way to urge them to keep the promise on AIDS.”

The global AIDS response still consistently falls short each year by up to $6 billion of what is needed to sufficiently fund efforts around the world. Government donors must give their fair share to improve on and continue HIV prevention efforts and ensure everyone who needs it has equitable access to lifesaving care and treatment.

“Even though we have made great strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa and around the world, we still have a long way to go,” added Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF’s Africa Bureau Chief. “It is simply unacceptable that people living with HIV in many parts of the world still struggle to get free or affordable testing and antiretroviral therapy. Condoms are even hard to come by in many countries, though they are the most effective way to stop HIV transmission and extremely cost effective. Whether rich or poor, everyone deserves the ability to obtain lifesaving medicines, including generic drugs, regardless of their economic standing. As there is still no HIV vaccine on the horizon, guaranteeing prevention and treatment for all is the only way we’ll defeat the virus and eventually end this pandemic.”

On World AIDS Day 2020, AHF will be hosting a multitude of virtual and social-distanced live events. Be sure to be on the lookout and join us in person or online to help ensure the world never forgets “AIDS: The Other Pandemic.”