According to UNAIDS, every week, around 5500 young women aged 15–24 years become infected with HIV, and when girls complete secondary school, their risk of getting HIV is reduced by 50%. MIET AFRICA, through its Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) Programme, this year has tested over 28 000 AGYW and has linked over 80% of those who tested, to care and support.
HIV treatment has averted around 12.1 million AIDS-related deaths since 2010 (UNAIDS, 2020). MIET AFRICA as the implementing partner in the AGYW Programme, and offers support services such as mobile testing trucks, access to counselors and nurses in three provinces in South Africa. But not everyone who needs treatment has access to it and hundreds of thousands of people are still dying.
This year’s World Aids Day theme is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”. The world’s attention this year has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic which shows, once again, how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth.
With this in mind, this year the theme of World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”. Today, as the world battles another pandemic, let us work towards eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre of global responses to end the “colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19” (UNAIDS, 2020).