Message delivered by Lucien Kouakou, Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Africa region in line with the 29th edition of world AIDS day celebrated this December 1,2016.
On the occasion of the World AIDS Day, we must acknowledge one fact: being diagnosed with HIV today means something very different than it used to be 30 years ago. HIV is no longer a death sentence. However, our attitudes towards the virus can make people living with HIV feel ignored and neglected.
Significant gains have been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the past decade especially in sub- Saharan Africa which is the epicenter of the pandemic. Almost half the people living with HIV are now on treatment, the rate of new infections has stabilized and more innovative approaches such as test and treat are being rolled out.
Despite these achievements AIDS remains a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa and contributes significantly to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. Regrettably, sub-Saharan Africa continues to have the worst HIV/AIDS indicators. Currently, there are 36.7 million people living with HIV, nearly 70% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Close to 90% of the world’s HIV-positive children live in Africa. More than one million adults and children die every year from HIV/AIDS in Africa alone.
The global drive to end AIDS by 2030 led by the UNAIDS under the 90:90:90 Accelerated Plan African Union 2063 Agenda, IPPF has prioritized scaling up innovative HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes particularly targeting young people, key populations and underserved groups in the new strategic framework (2016 – 2022).
I take this opportunity to congratulate our Member Associations composed of supportive and committed volunteers and staff for delivering over 20 million HIV and STI services in 2015. This was accomplished through over 38,000 service delivery points reaching mainly young people and underserved groups based on one of our believe that sexual and reproductive rights should be guaranteed for everyone.
Our services are modelled on a holistic approach of sexual reproductive health and HIV linkages which aims strengthening health systems to deliver quality integrated SRH & HIV services. In 2016 and 2017 our focus is on scaling up prevention especially among young people, expanding treatment based on the new WHO guidelines.
Our commitment towards ending the pandemic in Africa shall always be at the core of our work. IPPFAR is ready to partner with likeminded players and governments to end AIDS in Africa by 2030.
I plead with each one of us to say no to stigmatization and to keep supporting people living with HIV and AIDS as we continue to make the Africa we want a better place to live in.
Happy World AIDS day.
Together we can defeat the AIDS pandemic!
Let us keep the momentum stronger.