World AIDS Day 2012: "Getting to Zero"
November 30th, 2012
Since the onset of the global HIV & AIDS epidemic, Africare has been a leading voice in the fight against the disease in Africa. From Senegal to Somalia and from Egypt to South Africa, Africare has been working to eliminate HIV & AIDS from the continent. We remain committed to working with governments, donors, private foundations and the communities we serve to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
Africare’s projects have provided treatment to more than 20,000 patients; offered prevention of mother-to-child transmission services (PMTCT) to over 70,000 HIV-positive women; and extended food, education and livelihood assistance to over 200,000 orphans and vulnerable children. Africare’s HIV & AIDS projects have benefited an estimated 350,000 people – including infants.
As the recent UNAIDS report testifies, much progress has been made in the fight against HIV & AIDS worldwide. Research advancements and international commitment have led us to this monumental juncture where the end of the epidemic can now be envisioned in our lifetime. Scaling-up PMTCT; expanding access to voluntary, medical male circumcision; scaling-up treatment as prevention programs; scaling-up TB and HIV programs; and targeting help to vulnerable populations – men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers – have all significantly contributed to achieving an AIDS-free generation. Even a vaccine is now within the realm of possibility.
While this is commendable, so much more needs to be done. According to UNAIDS, 2.5 million people are infected each year, worldwide. As of 2011, approximately 34 million people were still living with HIV & AIDS globally, of whom 23.5 million lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly half of those people living with HIV & AIDS (PLWHA) are women of childbearing age, and women represent 60% of all PLWHA in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among young women, the HIV prevalence rate is nearly three times that of young men, and stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against PLWHA remain. Cultural and structural barriers, such as violence against women and girls, rural isolation and poverty, impede prevention efforts as do punitive laws and policies.
In observance of World AIDS Day 2012, Africare pledges to carry on doing our part in “Getting to Zero.” Africare will continue vigorously pursuing HIV & AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs throughout Africa and strengthening country-led partnerships in program implementation. We therefore call on governments, partners, donors and communities to join hands to achieve an AIDS-free world.