World AIDS day observed on December 1

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About 21 lakh people across India were HIV positive and information related to 164 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres, 22 Anti Retroviral Treatment centres, 142 blood banks across the State were provided in the stalls.

"The Region of the Americas has made important progress in the fight against AIDS and part of this is down to the fact that over three-quarters of people living with HIV have been tested and nearly 80 percent of them are now in treatment", said Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of the PAHO/WHO Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health.

The Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Sani Aliyu, on Saturday called on Nigerians to get tested to enable them to know their HIV status.

The occasion also celebrates the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, first initiated by WHO in 1988. If people don't know their HIV statuses, we're in the dark.

As part of the World Aids Day celebration themed "Know your HIV status" the UN AIDS research conducted reports nine million people worldwide do not know their status. In 2017, 9.4 million people were simply unaware that they are living with a potentially deadly, but treatable, disease. This means 76 adolescent deaths every day, unless we make additional investment in HIV prevention, testing and treatment programmes in a number of regions.

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"Many of those who are being left behind are those who are more affected by HIV including people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and prisoners". Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern.

The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing. Since the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected and more than 35 million have died. Globally, 15- to 24-year-old women are twice as likely as young men to be infected.

Mabuza addressed the official World Aids Day commemoration at the Dobsonville Stadium this afternoon.

Moeti said that as part of the new 5-year strategy for WHO, the organisation was working with Member States in the African region to strengthen their health systems and help them make progress towards universal health coverage.