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World AIDS Day: Communities lead the way in ending HIV by 2030


December 1 marks World AIDS Day. This year's slogan "Let communities lead" calls for action to enable and support communities in leading the way toward the end of AIDS by 2030.

The world can end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 by unleashing the full potential of community leadership, according to the UN. Communities play a critical role in connecting people with HIV services and responding to AIDS like other pandemics including COVID-19, Ebola and mpox.

World AIDS Day: Communities lead the way in ending HIV by 2030

World Health Organization data on the global HIV response reveals that about 85.6 million people have become infected with HIV and 40.4 million people have died from AIDS-related illness since the start of the AIDS.

In 2022, 39 million people globally were living with HIV, among which 37.5 million were above 15 years old and 1.5 million were children under 15. About 53 percent of all people living with HIV were women and girls. At the end of December 2022, 29.8 million were accessing antiretroviral therapy, up from 7.7 million in 2010.

A total of 1.3 million people became newly infected with HIV last year, declining by 38 percent from 2010. Since 2010, new HIV infections among children have declined by 58 percent to 130,000 in 2022. About 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illness last year, reducing by 51 percent from 2010.

But communities are being held back in their leadership, as problems such as funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles and capacity constraints are obstructing the progress of HIV prevention and treatment services.

Globally, funding channeled through communities has fallen from 31 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2021. A total of $20.8 billion was available for HIV programmes in low- and middle-income countries in 2022, 2.6 percent less than in 2021 and well short of 29.3 billion needed by 2025.

Sex workers and drug addicts are among key populations with higher median HIV prevalence. A total of 170 countries, which represent 87.2 percent of reporting countries, have criminalized sex work. Meanwhile, 142 countries, which account for 72.8 percent of reporting countries, have criminalized possession of small amounts of drugs, according to UN.

World AIDS Day: Communities lead the way in ending HIV by 2030

About 115 countries, that is 59 percent of reporting countries, have a national plan for elimination of vertical transmission of HIV, while 110 countries, namely 56.4 percent of reporting countries, have a national policy on HIV self-testing.

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