Your health is in your hands. And this World AIDS Day, that is what UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) wants you to know.
We’ve come a long way since those terrifying days of yesteryear, where the term HIV-AIDS was synonymous with manic paranoia. A time when the only imagery this disease evoked was of tombstones and death, of a short and miserable life that was peppered with a myriad of illnesses that could not be controlled.
However, that is not to say that HIV-AIDS, and by extension, the patients who suffer from it are not stigmatized by society. But with time, we have come out of the darkest of ages, progressing towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Carrying forward the torch of light is UNAIDS and its wonderfully inspiring motto for World AIDS Day 2017 – ‘My Health, My Right.’ The UNAIDS wants to reinforce the fact that everyone, including those who have been diagnosed with HIV, has the right to good health, whether it is physical or mental as well as emotional health.
The UNAIDS explains that this right to health has been laid down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, which brought forth the idea that everybody has the right to enjoy the highest possible achievable standard of mental and physical health.
This campaign is meant to serve as a reminder to people all over the world that it does not merely stand for access to high-quality medications and other health services. Rather it is also dependent on other important factors such as proper housing and sanitation, a clean and healthy working environment and access to justice.
This reminder is needed in the present context, where people are still afraid to get themselves tested for HIV and seek the treatment and care that they deserve. However, things have improved considerably. According to a report released by UNAIDS, access to treatment for HIV patients has witnessed a marked improvement. The same report states that in the year 2000, only 6.85 million people affected by HIV had access to antiretroviral therapy. However, by the time of June 2017, the numbers have improved considerably and now 20.9 million AIDS patients all over the world get access to medications that can help save their lives.
Such dramatic increase would not have been possible had HIV positive people not persisted with their determination and courage, demanding equal rights to quality healthcare as everybody else. In fact, this improvement has not only helped improve the lives of those suffering from HIV, but research has also shown that those patients who are on an effective routine of anti-retroviral therapy are 97% less likely to transmit the HIV virus.
Hence, this year, let’s come together to take our health into our own hands, assert our rights for better health and create a movement that aims to eliminate all sorts of health inequalities.
Take the Lead and Pledge your Support for World Aids Day. Let us Stand up and Make a difference.