On World AIDS Day, AHF Urges Everyone to Keep Fighting “The Other Pandemic”

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While COVID-19 has devastated communities worldwide and remained in the spotlight since last year, the world must keep fighting to protect gains made against HIV/AIDS—a pandemic that has been raging for over 30 years and remains a global public health crisis.

 KATHMANDU, Nepal (November 29, 2020) Ahead of the Dec. 1 commemoration of World AIDS Day 2020, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) unveiled a timely new theme – “AIDS: The Other Pandemic.” This theme and corresponding logo serve as a reminder to the world that even in times of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS must be kept high on the global public health agenda because itstill claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

Continuing a longstanding tradition, AHF will be hosting a multitude of commemorations, including virtual and a few social-distanced live events to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses, to raise public awareness about the importance of HIV testing, prevention and treatment, and to rally advocates to carry on this vital fight.

“COVID-19 has justifiably stolen the headlines, but we must not forget the pandemic that has been raging for more than three decades and still affects millions of people globally,” said Terri Ford, AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy. “It’s absolutely vital that world leaders also keep their attention on HIV this World AIDS Day and beyond—and campaigns like ‘AIDS: The Other Pandemic’ are just one way to urge them to keep the promise on AIDS.”

The global AIDS response still consistently falls short each year by up to $6 billion of what is needed to sufficiently fund efforts around the world – this gap will likely widen further with the COVID-19 pandemic. Government donors must give their fair share to improve on and continue HIV prevention efforts and ensure everyone who needs it has equitable access to lifesaving care and treatment.

In light of social distancing requirements and other COVID-19 infection control measures mandated across most of the 45 countries where AHF works, this year the majority of commemorative events will focus on engaging the public via interactive media, such as social media campaigns, TV and radio talk shows and concerts, webinars, and press conferences.

In Nepal, AHF Nepal and partners will organize free HIV testing and condom distribution campaigns, press meetings, interactive programs, scientific sessions, rickshaw rallies, quiz contestsand more :

WHAT: AHF NEPAL COMMEMORATES WORLD AIDS DAY
WHEN: Sunday, November 29, 2020 to December 1, 2020

  • Media release- November 29, 2020
  • Panel Discussion with experts – November 29, 2020
  • Message display on the digital board – UTC, Tripureswor- December 1, 2020
  • Social media posters design and boosting-December 1, 2020
  • Bulk SMS-December 1, 2020
  • Press meet at NCASC-December 1, 2020
  • Free HIV testing and condom distribution-November 29, 2020 to December 1, 2020
  • Red Ribbon Art Contest-December 1, 2020
  •  Discussion on pathway to ending HIV epidemic in Nepal- December 1, 2020
  • #YoungVoicesforHIV Reaction Video-December 1, 2020
  •  Session on clinical presentation on HIV/AIDS-December 1, 2020
  • Warm clothesdistribution program for CLHIVs and rickshaw rally-December 1, 2020
  •  Virtual Celebration-World AIDS Day (AHF Nepal CPM as panelist) on December 1, 2020 (8-9 p.m.)
WHERE:
  • Kathmandu: Panel discussion, message display at UTC, Press meet, red ribbon art contest, discussion on pathway to ending HIV epidemic in Nepal, youth voice for HIV video, session-clinical presentation on HIV/AIDS, Virtual Celebration-World AIDS Day (AHF Nepal CPM as panelist in the Zoom Call by South Western State College)
  • Butwal: Warm clothesdistribution program for CLHIVs, rickshaw rally, HIV testing and condom distribution
  • Kapilvastu: Warm clothes distribution program for CLHIVs, HIV testing and condom distribution
  • Bharatpur: interaction among stakeholders
  • Pokhara: interaction among stakeholders and nutrition distribution
  • Baglung: HIV testing and condom distribution, interaction among stakeholders
  • Nepalgunj: clothes distribution to children and geriatric clients, cycle rally, HIV testing and condom distribution
  • Surkhet: clothes distribution to children and geriatric clients, rickshaw rally
  • Dhangadi: client orientation, rickshaw rally, clothes distribution to geriatric PLHIV
  • Tikapur & Doti: clothes distribution to pediatric clients, client orientation
  • Jankpur: quiz contest, HIV testing and condom distribution, advocacy w/s with private hospitals
  • Birgunj: scientific session on S&D, TL and advocacy w/s with private hospitals
  • Hetauda: interaction with stakeholders and beginning of AHF’s support to ART
  • Achham: interaction with stakeholders and beginning of AHF’s support to ART
WHO: NCASC team, NAP+N, AHF Nepal, We for change, Mogul media
VISUALS: There will be brochures, banners and video screenings.

“World AIDS Day reminds us to continue with our commitment to sustain and scale up current prevention, care and treatment activities—and with AHF’s newest theme for WAD 2020, ‘AIDS: The Other Pandemic’, we’re also reminded that even during this disastrous COVID-19 crisis, Nepal and the world must also continue fighting to end HIV,” said Deepak Dhungel, AHF Nepal Country Program Manager.

“On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2020, I would like to thank the government for its commitment to end HIV/AIDS by increasing domestic funding for the procurement of medicines and test kits. We also call on all provinces and local governments to invest more for social mobilizations to continue sustained and improved prevention and care activities in communities,” said Rajesh Didiya, President of the National Association of PLHIV in Nepal (NAP+N).

According to the most recent UNAIDS statistics, 38 million people are living with HIV/AIDS around the World, and in 2019 alone, 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV, and 690,000 died from AIDS-related illnesses. While millions of people today are accessing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, millions more still desperately need it.

“Cases of COVID-19 have declined across Asia, and some of the countries have avoided the worst of the outbreak, but we have to acknowledge that this pandemic put a serious strain on HIV/AIDS programs, whether due to mobility restrictions, economic impact, or a shift of medical personnel and resources – this is a wakeup call. We must be prepared to deal with such disruptions in the future – the health and lives of people living with HIV depend on it,” said Dr. Chhim Sarath, AHF Asia Bureau Chief. “AIDS is the other pandemic – we’ve been fighting it for 30 years, and while the sense of urgency around it has sadly diminished, now more than ever, we have the tools to stop it. This World AIDS Day, we want to remind everyone that AIDS is still a crisis across our region, and we all must work together to beat it by investing effort and resources into testing, prevention and treatment.”

A full list of AHF’s U.S. and international World AIDS Day events can be accessed at:https://ahfwad.org/

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.4 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealthand follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcareand Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

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