UN, World AIDS day

Still too many inequalities

On December 1st World AIDS day was celebrated, an anniversary established in 1988 that marked a crucial change for HIV’s prevention and for the promotion of correct information on the disease.

The discussion about AIDS began in 1981, exactly 40 years ago, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signaled an inexplicable rise in pneumonia cases in young patients. The virus was then isolated three years later by Robert Gallo; in less than six months the first antiviral medication to control the infection was on the market.

Today a lot has been achieved in regards to medications, but there are still many problems concerning the management of the disease. During this year’s World AIDS day, in particular, the necessity of reaching all the predetermined goals has been celebrated, first and foremost defeating the epidemic by 2030.

The regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe, Hans Kluge, stated that “since the HIV virus has been identified for the first time in 1984, it caused more than 35 million deaths, making it the most destructive pandemic in history […] while the world’s attention is concentrated on COVID-19, we can’t forget this other deadly virus that devastated lives and communities for almost 40 years”

According to the data of UNAIDS (United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), 38 million people live with this disease, of which 36,2 million are adults and 1,8 million are children younger than 15 years old. 60% of infections happen in Africa, where the weight of AIDS is still heavy on the younger generation’s shoulders. During the last years, important progress on the contrast of the disease has been registered not only in richer Countries but even in the ones with middle and low incomes, going from 2,8 million of new infections in 1988 to 1,7 million in 2019. Furthermore, by the end of 2020, 27,5 million people with HIV had access to antiviral therapies; in 2010 they were only 7,8 million.

The inequalities are still too many

End inequalities. End AIDS”, that’s the slogan chosen by WHO for this year’s World AIDS day. The slogan wasn’t chosen by chance, since Covid-19 pandemic made access to services for disease prevention and care even more difficult, especially in the areas that got hit harder by it. But this is also due to the fact that in those areas vaccines against COVID-19 struggle to reach AIDS patients, who have very low immunitary defences and are therefore more vulnerable. The progresses in the fight against HIV seem at risk due to the pandemic even in Italy where, according to Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), diagnosis have reduced by 47% in 2020 compared to 2019.

The inequalities are not only geographical ones; young people have a harder time accessing antiviral therapies. Furthermore, the International Labour Organization (ILO), on the occasion of World AIDS day, observed that “wrong myths and ideas” on HIV and AIDS still fuel discriminations on the workplace. The organization quoted a survey carried out on 55.000 people from 50 Countries, whose results showed that only a woman out of two knew that HIV cannot be transmitted sharing a bathroom. The ILO underlines that the attitude of discrimination are fueled by lack of knowledge on the way HIV can be transmitted.

The organization’s poll then noticed that the lowest availability to work with people with HIV has been observed in Asia and in the Pacific area, followed by the Middle East and North Africa. The regions with the most positive attitudes, on the other hand, were Western and Southern Africa, where almost 90% of the people interviewed declared that they would be at ease working with people with HIV. Superior levels of instruction were associated with positive attitudes in regards to working with people with HIV.

Chidi King, head of the Gender, equality, diversity and inclusion sector of the ILO, declared: “It’s shocking that, 40 years after the start of the epidemic of HIV and AIDS, myths and wrong ideas are still so widespread. The lack of basic knowledge about transmission modalities of the virus is increasing discrimination […] The workplace has a key role in this education process. The workers and the employers certainly have a role to play. Social dialogue is a key mechanism through which policies, materials and products can be created in order to increase the awareness, granting that the enrollment policies do not discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS.”.

So, from the ILO’s report it emerges how overcoming discrimination is fundamental in order to stop AIDSD, in particoular during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Translated by Immacolata Balestrieri

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  • L'Autore

    Lorena Radici

    Lorena Radici studia Relazioni Internazionali presso l'Università degli Studi di Milano, curriculum: International Cooperation and Human Rights. Nel 2019 ha conseguito una laurea in Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica presso la Scuola Superiore per Mediatori Linguistici (SSML) di Varese, specializzandosi nel campo della traduzione e dell'interpretariato in inglese, spagnolo e cinese.

    Durante il suo percorso di studi alla triennale ha avuto l'opportunità di svolgere dei tirocini di traduzione verso la lingua inglese con la redazione di VareseNews e con l'associazione culturale della località del Sacro Monte di Varese. Sempre alla SSML ha poi frequentato il corso di alta formazione in Mediazione Culturale.

    La sua passione per le Relazioni Internazionali è rivolta soprattutto al settore dei diritti umani, dell'immigrazione e della sicurezza internazionale. In particolare, è interessata ai temi riguardanti la criminalità organizzata globale.

    In Mondo Internazionale ricopre il ruolo di Autrice nelle aree tematiche "Organizzazioni Internazionali" e "Ambiente e Sviluppo" e il ruolo di Revisore di Bozze.

    Lorena Radici studies International Relations at the University of Milan, curriculum: International Cooperation and Human Rights. In 2019 she got a degree in Sciences of Language Mediation at SSML in Varese, where she studied Translation and Interpretating in English, Spanish and Chinese.

    During the degree course at SSML she had the opportunity to do an internship in translation with VareseNews and a cultural association of Sacro Monte. She also attended a course of Higher Education in Cultural Mediation.

    For what regards International Relations, she is interested above all in human rights, immigration and international security. Particularly, she is interested in topics related to global criminal organizations.

    Within Mondo Internazionale she is an Author for the thematic areas of "International Organizations" and "Environment and Development" and she also serves as Proofreader.


Sections International Organizations Society 2030 Agenda Health and Wellness


#aids #salute #disuguaglianze #pandemia #onu #ilo

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