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Friday, December 1, 2017

World AIDS Day 2017 - Right To Health

Today is the 29th annual observance of World AIDS Day.
This December 1 day has been observed since 1988, and is dedicated to not only raising awareness about the pandemic, but mourning the people who have died from the disease. It's a bittersweet one for me because I have lost closed couples and few friends to the ravages of AIDS, and have others who are living with HIV.

It's also a concern because the 2015 US Trans Survey revealed that 6.7% of the respondents reported they were diagnosed with HIV.
This year's World AIDS Day theme is 'Right To Health' and it's a salient on in light of the Trump misadministrations attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act and slash funding to combat HIV/AIDS.

In early 2015, President Jonathan signed a new antidiscrimination bill into law which secured the rights of people living with HIV, protecting HIV-positive employees from unfair dismissal and from mandatory HIV testing. However, in 2016 UNAIDS reported that 21% of people living with HIV had been denied access to health services and reproductive health services due to their status.


Young People and HIV

National data suggests that 4.2% of young people (ages 15-24) are living with HIV. Awareness of HIV prevention is higher among young men than women. In the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey (the most recent available), 70% of young men (ages 15-24) were aware that using a condom can reduce the risk of HIV transmission compared to 56% of their female peers.
Young women have a higher HIV prevalence and are infected earlier in life than men of the same age group. In 2016, more than 46,000 young women were infected with HIV compared to 33,900 young men.

Early sexual debut is common in Nigeria, which begins at less than 15 years old for 15% of Nigeria's youth. This is one factor that increases HIV vulnerability among young people, alongside very low HIV testing rates - only 17% of young people know their HIV status.


Antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Nigeria

Antiretroviral treatment (ART) provision in Nigeria is low, with just 30% of all people living with HIV receiving treatment in 2016. Only 21% of children living with HIV are receiving ART, and only 32% of pregnant women living with HIV are on ART.

Certain weaknesses in the system exist, which mean many people who receive a positive HIV diagnosis are not referred on to treatment, or not retained in treatment for very long. Even when ART can be accessed, drug supplies are known to run out and lead to stock-outs.

World AIDS Day also seeks to help get the information out there necessary to reach the stated goal of no new HIV infections by 2030 and we still have much work to do to get to that point.

Say No To Stigmatized - Your Right To Health