World Aids Day is honoured annually on 1st December worldwide. Since 1988, the global community has dedicated this day to promoting awareness about HIV/AIDS. Objectives of this day include

  • support persons living with HIV/AIDS
  • educate communities about HIV/AIDS
  • encourage safe behaviours in order to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS
  • end discrimination against persons infected with / affected by HIV/AIDS
  • enhance inter-sectoral collaboration in fighting against HIV/AIDS

World Aids Day was the first global health day to be honoured by international bodies. Practitioners in the field, particularly within the WHO, conceived the day to promote a specialised focus on awareness and prevention of the disease. Initially, the campaign targeted women and children. However, this was criticised as it excluded other society groups, especially men, who were also experiencing HIV infections and a rise in Aids across society.

Within 2 years however, the focus expanded to include society in general.

UNAIDS, the United Nations organ dedicated to HIV/AIDS, declares themes to guide activities on World Aids Day. Broad themes are selected to achieve the UN goals against HIV/AIDS. Subthemes are then declared annually to encourage and promote commitment to achieve these goals.

The red ribbon is universally recognised as a symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The following goals have been adopted by the UN

  • Reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 50% by 2015
  • Reduce transmission of HIV by people who inject drugs by 50% in 2015
  • Eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and substantially reduce AIDS-related maternal deaths
  • Reach 15 million people living with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral treatment by 2015
  • Reduce tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV by 50% in 2015
  • Close the global AIDS resource gap in 2015 and reach annual global investment of US $22-24 billion in low- and middle- income countries
  • Eliminate gender inequalities and gender based abuse and violence and increase the capacity of women and girls to protect themselves from HIV
  • Eliminate stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV/Aids through promotion of laws and policies that ensure the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • Eliminate HIV restrictions on entry, stay and residence (relating to travel)
  • Eliminate parallel systems for HIV related services to strengthen integration of the AIDS response in global health and development efforts

Source:  UNAIDS

In 2012 South Africa had an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 17.9%, the 4th highest worldwide. As signatories to various international Declarations to eliminate the spread of HIV, South Africa has implemented large-scale interventions in order to achieve the universal goals mentioned above.

Universal access to anti-retroviral treatments was rolled out nationally in order to allow all citizens infected with HIV to have easy access to needed medication

A medical focus was developed to prevent mother-to-child- transmission

The country has an extensive program to address the management and spread of TB as a co-morbid disease with HIV

National counselling and testing is offered to encourage citizens to be aware of their HIV status

There is continuous funded- research to improve findings related to HIV

Prevention is a priority, and various programmes are in place to promote and educate epople about this

Progressive laws and policies inform anti-discrimination practices against persons with HIV

A National Action Plan has been developed to guide practitioners in working with people living with HIV in order to promote safe and healthy living

South Africa implements an inter-governmental, multi-sectoral approach in order to unite all levels of society to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDs in the country.

Extensive media campaigns are developed, both large scale and small to address preventing the spread of HIV.

Areas of social concern that may contribute to the spread of HIV include poverty, high crime rate, prevention of access to treatment, high risk behaviour, addictions, cultural stigma’s and discriminatory behaviour, gender inequality, abuse of vulnerable persons in society

South Africa has developed an extensive approach to eliminate HIV and promotes partnership between civil society, NGO’s, government departments and faith-based organisations. Islamic careline, together with the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa and IMA started the Muslim Aids Program to respond to the need for social intervention. The program promotes prevention as well as care services to Orphan and Vulnerable Children affected or infected by HIV/AIDS.

The MAP has an extensive prevention campaign. School -based life skills programs are conducted nationally to educate children about HIV and promote responsible behaviour. Children across the grades are targeted, with programs designed to be age appropriate.

Invite MAP to present programs in your schools and community throughout the year. Contact +27114921284/2 for further information.

  • Author : Suhayfa Mahomed (Islamic Careline)