On WORLD AIDS DAY, AHF Urges Everyone to Keep Fighting “The Other Pandemic”

On WORLD AIDS DAY, AHF Urges Everyone to Keep Fighting “The Other Pandemic”

While COVID-19 has devastated communities worldwide and remained in the spotlight since last year, the world must keep fighting to protect the gains made against HIV/AIDS—a pandemic that has been raging for over 30 years and remains a global public health crisis.

Ahead of the Dec. 1 commemoration of World AIDS Day 2020, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) unveiled a timely new theme – “AIDS: The Other Pandemic.” This theme and corresponding logo serve as a reminder to the world that even in times of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS must be kept high on the global public health agenda because it still claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, AHF will be hosting a multitude of commemorations, including virtual and social-distanced live events to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses, to raise public awareness about the importance of HIV testing, prevention and treatment, and to rally advocates to carry on this vital fight.

“COVID-19 has justifiably stolen the headlines, but we must not forget the pandemic that has been raging for more than three decades and still affects millions of people globally,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy. “It’s absolutely vital that world leaders also keep their attention on HIV this World AIDS Day and beyond—and campaigns like ‘AIDS: The Other Pandemic’ are just one way to urge them to keep their promises on AIDS.”

The global AIDS response still consistently falls short each year by up to $6 billion in comparison to what is needed to sufficiently fund efforts around the world – this gap will likely widen further with the COVID-19 pandemic. Government donors must provide their fair share to improve on and continue HIV prevention efforts, and ensure everyone who needs it has equitable access to lifesaving care and treatment.

In light of social distancing requirements and other COVID-19 infection control measures mandated across most of the 45 countries where AHF works, this year the majority of commemorative events will be focusing on engaging the public via interactive media, such as social media campaigns, TV and radio talk shows, concerts, webinars and press conferences.  

According to the most recent UNAIDS statistics, 38 million people are living with HIV/AIDS around the world, and in 2019 alone, 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV and 690,000 died from AIDS-related illnesses. While millions of people today are accessing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, millions more still desperately need it.

The goal set by dozens of countries around the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS was that by 2020, 90% of the people living with HIV will know their HIV status; that 90% of those who know this state have access to treatment; and that 90% of people on HIV treatment have a suppressed viral load. According to UNAIDS at the global level, in regard to these goals, known as 90-90-90, Latin America is still behind the global trend:

  • People living with HIV who know their status:
  • Global 81 / Latin America 77
  • People living with HIV who are in treatment:
  • Global 67 / Latin America 60
  • People living with HIV who have a viral load:
  • Global 59 / Latin America 53

“COVID-19 has had an unimaginable impact on the Latin America and Caribbean region, with more than 12 million cases by November 2020 – Argentina and Colombia have over 1 million cases, Mexico and Peru are quickly approaching 1 million, and Brazil has a staggering 5.6 million cases. Over 420,000 people have died across the region. Amid all this devastation we have a critical responsibility to help carry on and protect gains that have been painstakingly achieved in the fight against ‘AIDS: The Other Pandemic’,” said Dr. Patricia Campos, AHF Latin America and Caribbean Bureau Chief. “ This World AIDS Day, we plan to remind our leaders that AIDS is still a global public health crisis and we cannot afford to forget the painful lessons it has taught us by shifting all of our attention to COVID-19. In these unprecedented times we must find the will, determination and resources to fight both pandemics – it’s a matter of survival for the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Follow the campaign on social media with the hashtag #AidsTheOtherPandemic and know the full list of AHF’s U.S. and international World AIDS Day events can be accessed at: https://ahfwad.org/

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.47 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, (place local webpage and social media pages) find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Sergio Lagarde Moguel 

AHF Latin America & Caribbean Bureau

Marketing & PR Director

+1 323 412 5432 (US)

email: [email protected] 

Download the campaign “AIDS: the other pandemic” graphics