World AIDS Day

Not a day passes by without Covid-related news updates. However, how many of us are aware of the fact that the current caseload of HIV/AIDS is more than double that of COVID-19? As per recent worldometer stats, there are 43 million people infected with HIV/AIDS, compared to 20 million active cases of Covid. Researchers are struggling to find a definitive cure for both the diseases. While we know quite a bit about Covid by now, let us pause for a few moments, as we observe World AIDS Day today, to understand a bit more about HIV/AIDS and the huge challenge it poses to humanity.

World Aids Day falls on the 1st of December every year to commemorate the lives that have been lost due to AIDS, and also to unite and fight against this health crisis that continues to plague millions of lives. Globally, around 700,000 succumbed to it in 2020 alone. Two-thirds of the AIDS global burden is in Africa (~25 million cases). World Aids Day strives to unite all international and national health organizations, and other concerned partners, to facilitate the distribution of essential HIV medicines and care to those who still aren’t receiving it.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is ‘End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics.’ UNAIDS has the vision to end AIDS by 2030 and for achieving this, the present economic, social, cultural, and legal inequalities must be ended as a matter of urgency, ensuring equitable access to HIV prevention and treatment services for all.

Moreover, HIV-AIDS has always had a social stigma attached to it, such that people are afraid to touch infected individuals or even be around them. This prejudice stems from a baseless and false understanding of the disease; the infection can actually only spread via the exchange of bodily fluids. Thus, it is an utmost necessity to increase awareness regarding AIDS so that people don’t harbour such biases, which can mentally scar the infected and make them feel deeply isolated.

This is why the moment a person comes to know that they are infected with AIDS, it is like hearing a death sentence. The general understanding that they have an incurable disease and a shortened life is shocking. They are confronted with all sorts of unpleasant thoughts and questions within themselves, which makes them even more miserable. It becomes increasingly difficult to find hope in anything in life. What do we even do in such a situation? If anyone reading this is infected with AIDS, we hope that you will not only find the right medical care, but also friends and communities of support to help you pull through. The life expectancy of a person living with HIV has improved dramatically over recent years. Advances in treatment, namely antiretroviral therapy, people living with HIV can now expect to live long, healthy lives. Leaning into community may help in ensuring that life, even if it is challenging, can be made deeply meaningful.
Please DM us if you would like to reach out and seek such safe communities of support.

The Bible tells us that Jesus died on the cross, rejected by the very people he came to save, and largely misunderstood even by most of his friends. This is why he can fully sympathize with anyone going through profound loneliness, such as the one brought on by AIDS. This World Aids Day, let’s resolve to lean into this comforting love of Jesus if we ourselves are suffering, or be channels of the same love to those around us who may be infected and losing hope. Who knows? Maybe our companionship may come as the ray of hope that someone needs to continue their life’s journey meaningfully.

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