Today (Wednesday 1 December), NUS will be joining other organisations from across the world for World AIDS Day. Worlds AIDS Day is marked worldwide and is a chance to raise public awareness and tackle the stigma that often surrounds HIV and AIDS.
Over 33 million people around the world now live with AIDS, killing over 330,000 children last year alone. In the UK, over 90,000 people live with HIV, and about a third don’t even realise it. Over 7000 new cases are diagnosed each year. There remains no cure or vaccine for AIDS, only treatments which slow the course of the disease. There are some drugs which reduce the mortality of those infected with HIV, but they are expensive and not routinely available in every country.
Act Aware is the theme for World Aids Day 2010, and aims to raise awareness about tackling HIV prejudice and help stop the spread of HIV. Ensure that you understand the facts about HIV and find out what you can do to Act Aware. Make a pledge and join people all over the world making a difference today.
Wear a red ribbon and show your support
The red ribbon is worn as a sign of support for people living with HIV. Wearing a red ribbon for World AIDS Day is a simple and powerful way to show support and challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS that prevents us from tackling HIV in the UK and internationally.
A look at Swaziland
The people of Swaziland suffer from extreme poverty (70 per cent of the population live on less than $1 a day) and more than 1 in 4 Swazis are living with HIV and AIDS. Swaziland is Africa's only autocratic absolute monarchy. Political parties are banned, political and civic activists are imprisoned, and the judiciary, media and other authoritative bodies are controlled by the monarchy.
Swaziland is one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Since the first AIDS cases were reported in the country in 1986, the disease has spread at an alarming rate. The government estimates that only 20% of people in the country know their HIV status. Swazi traditional opinion links AIDS with sexual promiscuity, and often causes HIV positive people to be rejected by their families.
The immense scale of AIDS related illness and death has weakened governance capacities for service delivery, with serious impact on food security, economic growth and human development.
ACTSA have produced a briefing highlighting the scale of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland.