Inequalities Hampering Efforts To End AIDS

Dangerous Inequalities Hampering Efforts To End AIDS | UnBreak the News with Prema Sridevi | Ep: 108

Over the years, the rate of death from AIDS has decreased, and science and research have improved, but the inequalities faced by key populations over AIDS response continue. Here’s the latest episode of UnBreak the News with Prema Sridevi
First Published: Nov 30,2022 10:40PM

Last Updated on November 30, 2022

 

Since 1988, every year, December 1 has been observed as World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness related to the deadly disease caused by HIV infection and mourning those who lost their lives to the disease. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening disease. Over the years, the rate of death from AIDS has decreased, and science and research have improved, but the inequalities faced by key populations over AIDS response continue. Prema Sridevi UnBreaks this News for you!

(Produced below are the abridged version of the transcripts of the video explainer from Episode: 108 | UnBreak the News with Prema Sridevi | Title: Dangerous Inequalities Hampering Efforts To End AIDS)

Since 1988, every year, December 1 has been observed as World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness related to the deadly disease caused by HIV infection and mourning those who lost their lives to the disease. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening disease. Over the years, the rate of death from AIDS has decreased, and science and research have improved, but the inequalities faced by key populations over AIDS response continue. Let’s UnBreak this News!

New HIV infections have reduced by 54 per cent since their peak in 1996. AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 68 per cent since their peak in 2004. But according to the 2022 factsheet on Global HIV Statistics by UNAIDS, “38.4 million people globally were still living with HIV in 2021. 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2021. 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2021. 28.7 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy in 2021. 84.2 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic, and 40.1 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.”

Ahead of World Aids Day, the United Nations has revealed that inequalities are obstructing the end of AIDS. A new report called “Dangerous Inequalities”, released by the UNAIDS, reveals how gender inequalities and harmful gender norms are holding back the end of the AIDS pandemic.

The report has revealed that the effects of gender inequalities on women’s HIV risks are especially pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, where women accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in 2021. Adolescent girls and young women (aged 15 to 24 years) are three times more likely to acquire HIV than adolescent boys and young men of the same age group in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report notes that: “Discrimination against—and stigmatisation and criminalisation of—key populations are costing lives and preventing the world from achieving the agreed AIDS targets. Key populations—gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs, and prisoners and other incarcerated people—are most at risk of acquiring HIV but are least likely to be prioritised in many national HIV responses.”

The report also throws light on how the world has failed children who have contracted the disease. It states, “the world continues to fail children in the AIDS response. In 2021, 800,000 children living with HIV were still not on life-saving treatment. We know what needs to be done to eliminate the vertical transmission of HIV and meet the treatment needs of children, but a failure of leadership has prevented us from doing so, and the widening disparity in treatment coverage between children and adults is increasing rather than declining”.

As far as India is concerned, HIV infections are declining steadily. According to the latest UN report, India figures among countries which saw some of the most significant reductions in HIV infections. But India also continues to see high instances of stigmatisation and criminalisation of people suffering from HIV.

The only way to meet the target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is by stressing on one-word – equalise. As the UN has rightly put it, Equalise access to rights, equalise access to services, and equalise access to the best science and medicine. Equalising will not only help the marginalised. It will help everyone.

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