This year, 'Universal access and Human rights' was the theme for WAD and the slogans like
I AM ACCEPTED
I AM WELL
I AM SAFE
I AM GETTING TREATMENT were used to underscore the importance of awareness of human rights.
But these affirmations do sound bleak when compared with the latest reports from UNAIDS:
There are now 33.4m people living with HIV around
In 2008, 2.8m people became infected with the Virus and 2m died from it. For every 2 peple who start treatment, five more are infected! That is why we are not giving up if there is to be any hope for the people living with HIV and its future victims who can be YOU or I.
In Nigeria, How far have we gone? Not as far as we could be. Key Issues in overcoming the HIV/AIDS challenge in Nigeria quoted from Sola Ogundipe's writeup in Vanguard include:
- More affirmative action from the Government and all other stakeholders
- Essential support in educating more Nigerians
- Ensuring greater protection for pregnant women and children from HIV transmission
- Allocating greater financial resources for Behavioural Change Communication
- Improved access to HIV treatment
- And this writers humble view: making the C in ABC prevention initiatives visible again.
We need to rouse the conscience of our Corporate bodies and private companies into doing more than sponsor dances, football and reality shows if we want Universal access to be treatment to be possible.
Wouldnt it be great if everyday was World AIDS Day?