World AIDS Day 2023
World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day.
“The end of AIDS is possible, it is within our grasp” says UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. “To follow the path that ends AIDS, the world needs to let communities lead.”
LET COMMUNITIES LEAD
World AIDS Day 2023
The world can end AIDS, with communities leading the way. Organisations of communities living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV are the frontline of progress in the HIV response. Communities connect people with person-centred public health services, build trust, innovate, monitor implementation of policies and services, and hold providers accountable.
But communities are being held back in their leadership. Funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles, capacity constraints, and crackdowns on civil society and on the human rights of marginalised communities, are obstructing the progress of HIV prevention and treatment services. If these obstacles are removed, community-led organisations can add even greater impetus to the global HIV response, advancing progress towards the end of AIDS.
THE PATH THAT ENDS AIDS: UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2023
This report makes clear that there is a path to end AIDS.
This report makes clear that there is a path to end AIDS. Taking that path will help ensure preparedness to address other pandemic challenges and advance progress across the Sustainable Development Goals. The data and real-world examples in the report make it very clear what that path is. It is not a mystery. It is a choice. Some leaders are already following the path—and succeeding. It is inspiring to note that Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe have already achieved the 95–95–95 targets, and at least 16 other countries (including eight in sub-Saharan Africa) are close to doing so.
Over the past two and a half years, the colliding AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics—along with economic and humanitarian crises—have placed the global HIV response under increasing threat.
In some parts of the world and for some communities, the response to the AIDS pandemic has shown remarkable resilience in adverse times, which has helped avoid the worst outcomes. However, global progress against HIV is slowing rather than accelerating: the latest data collected by UNAIDS show that while new HIV infections fell globally last year, the drop was only 3.6% compared to 2020—the smallest annual reduction since 2016.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America have all seen increases in annual HIV infections over the past decade. In Asia and the Pacific, UNAIDS data now show that new HIV infections are rising where they had been falling over the past 10 years.
Every day, 4,000 people—including 1,100 young people (aged 15 to 24 years)—become infected with HIV. If current trends continue, 1.2 million people will be newly infected with HIV in 2025—three times more than the 2025 target of 370,000 new infections.
The human impact of the stalling progress on HIV is chilling. In 2021, 650 000 people died of AIDS-related causes—one every minute.
With the availability of cutting-edge antiretroviral medicines and effective tools to properly prevent,detect and treat opportunistic infections such as cryptococcal meningitis and tuberculosis, these are preventable deaths. Without accelerated action to prevent people from reaching advanced HIV disease, AIDS-related deaths will remain a leading cause of death in many countries.
Trends in HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are driven by the availability of HIV services. Here, too, signs are worrying as expansion of HIV testing and treatment services stalls. The number of people on HIV treatment increased by only 1.47 million in 2021 compared to net increases of more than 2 million people in previous years. This represents the smallest increase since 2009.