COVID-19 has demonstrated that, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed.
Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the entrenched inequalities existing in our societies. This health crisis, like many others, is hitting the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest.
We have seen how the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges faced by people living with HIV, women and girls and key populations, including in accessing life-saving health care, and how the crisis has widened the social and economic inequalities that increase the vulnerability of marginalized groups to HIV.
However, this crisis has also been a wake-up call, an opportunity to do things differently—better, and together. In many respects, the defeat of AIDS as a public health threat depends on how the world responds to COVID-19.
The leadership and engagement of communities, instrumental in the success of the AIDS response, has also been key in responding to COVID-19. We have seen countless examples of how community activism and solidarity have, once again, been paramount in providing people affected by HIV with information, services, social protection and hope. However, such solidarity cannot be the sole responsibility of communities. Governments, donors, faith leaders, civil society and each and every one of us need to contribute to making the world a healthier place.
Global solidarity, shared responsibility
Every year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.
In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused by the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing 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”.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.
In a new report, Prevailing against pandemics by putting people at the centre, UNAIDS is calling on countries to make far greater investments in global pandemic responses and to adopt a new set of bold, ambitious but achievable HIV targets. If those targets are met, the world will be back on track to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response.
Themes run for one or two years and are not just specific to World AIDS Day. Campaigning slogans such as ‘Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’ have been used year-round to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments.
Participate in this year’s World AIDS Day by shining a light on inequalities and doing your part in helping to address them. Use the following materials on your digital platforms to show the world that inequalities cost lives and that it is time to end them.