World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) Prevention, and is celebrated on 1 December each year. Governments and all sectors of society join hands on this day to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS around carefully proposed themes. The day creates an opportunity to show solidarity for the global fight against HIV and AIDS. The year 2012 marks the 24rd Anniversary of World AIDS Day, thus making it the longest – running international health commemorative day.
The global theme for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2012, announced last year runs till 2015 and involves the three messages: “Zero New HIV infections”, “Zero Discrimination” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths”. Governments and civil society sectors will each year choose one or all of the Zeros that best address their respective situations.
South Africa has subscribed to the global World AIDS Day targets of Getting to Zero by 2015 on i) New HIV and TB Infections, ii) Stigma and Discrimination against People with HIV &AIDS and iii) TB and Zero AIDS and v) TB Related Deaths. In line with the global theme and the significant focus on HIV prevention and the National Strategic Plan on HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)and AIDS, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and TB (Tuberculosis) 2012-2016 – referred to as the NSP in our country the national theme for
2012 World AIDS Day is: “Zero new HIV and TB infections”.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicentre of the pandemic, and more so South Africa, since it is the country with the largest number of people living with HIV in the world and the largest country in the most affected region. Whilst we have come a long way since 1988, there is still much more to be done in order to turn the tides against HIV and AIDS.
The UNAIDS in consultation with member countries, organizations and partners has developed Getting to Zero Strategy (2011 – 2015) to ensure that universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is achieved. Ultimately, these initiatives will contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by
2015. Over the years, government and NGOs have initiated programmes in the fight against HIV and AIDS such as Komanani, Ground Breakers, and LoveLife to name but a few. The National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB 2012 – 2016 is our nation’s response to the dual epidemics of HIV and TB.