World AIDS Day 2022: How To Address Inequalities, End AIDS In Africa
Every first of December, the world unites to commemorate World AIDS Day, showing support for people living with HIV and remembering those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
This year, as stakeholders come together to observe World AIDS Day 2022 under the theme ‘Equalize’, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on global leaders and citizens to boldly recognise and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS; and equalize access to essential HIV services.
The “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for practical steps to be taken to address inequalities and help end AIDS. These include increased availability, quality and suitability of HIV treatment, as well as testing and prevention, so that everyone is well-served. Reform laws, policies and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV and key and marginalised populations, so that everyone is shown respect and is welcomed.
In the late 1980s, when the sequelae of rising HIV rates were becoming increasingly evident, public health programmes tackling HIV/AIDS were started.
The strategy of risk reduction through the promotion of barrier protection became the mainstay of most behavioural interventions.
Africa led the way of HIV reduction with Uganda as a case study under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni who de-emphasized the use of condoms as it’s scientifically proven that they have holes wide enough for the virus to pass through. He galvanized his countrymen to embrace abstinence which greatly reduced the incidences of HIV related cases in the East African Country.
Tragically, the liberal West mocks abstinence and has pumped the continent with condoms that have done more harm than good to her.
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The recent recognition of the remarkable diminution in HIV/AIDS in Uganda at a time of escalating rates of HIV seroprevalence in neighbouring countries has led to intense debate and discussion about specific determinants accounting for the remarkable decline in this infectious illness.
Conclusions drawn from this discussion have been varied and even contradictory: some conclude that promotion of delayed sexual debut was a pivotal factor in HIV reduction, while others claim that partner reduction was the lever that changed the course of history for Uganda; some suggest that increased barrier protection is responsible for progress in the war against HIV, while others say that success is attributable to injection safety resulting from cleaner needles; and yet others deny the extent of HIV/AIDS decline claiming that reported HIV rates were inaccurate or that there is statistical misinterpretation because AIDS mortality has resulted in decreased seroprevalence.
While HIV/AIDS remains a complex epidemiological problem, which will require multifaceted initiatives aimed at issues ranging from the empowerment of women in developing nations to the needs of injecting drug users in North American cities, the Ugandan example suggests that broad based programmes focusing on sexual behaviour change can significantly affect population level HIV/AIDS rates.
To do this, however, the pervasive problem of STDs must be openly tackled; direct recommendations for sexual behaviour change must include delayed sexual debut for adolescents, partner reduction, and risk reduction through barrier protection; and programmes must emphasise components of the original strategy that are most appropriate for local settings and specific audiences.