The Global March Against Child Labour is preparing to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, joining millions around the world in support of this year's theme, "Getting to Zero. Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths."
World AIDS Day comes close on the heels of the publication of the latest UNAIDS Report that shows that the AIDS epidemic is beginning to change course as the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing. According to UNAIDS, these combined developments are contributing to the stabilisation of the total number of people living with HIV in the world.
Data from the 2011 UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic shows that at the end of 2010:
- 34 million [31.6 million – 35.2 million] people globally living with HIV
- 2.7 million [2.4 million – 2.9 million] new HIV infections in 2010
- 1.8 million [1.6 million – 1.9 million] people died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2010
The report also shows that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen to the lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic. New HIV infections were reduced by 21% since 1997, and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses decreased by 21% since 2005.
“Even in a very difficult financial crisis, countries are delivering results in the AIDS response.” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We have seen a massive scale up in access to HIV treatment which has had a dramatic effect on the lives of people everywhere.”
Millions of vulnerable children are trafficked and pushed into commercial sexual work across the world, raising the risk of infection from HIV/AIDS. AIDS in Africa has killed more people than conflict, across the world 30 million deaths were caused due to AIDS. The proportion of women and girls living with HIV is nearly 60% in Sub-Saharan Africa has left a generation of child headed households, without mothers and father, or even teachers. The impact has been devastating on education, growth and development of countries and pushed underage children to workplaces, often hazardous.
Global March Chairperson Kailash Satyarthi called on all members and partners to offer full support for the commemoration of World AIDS Day 2011, highlighting the critical importance of the theme in terms of getting to zero new infection and protecting vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.
“HIV/ AIDS is undoubtedly the greatest health threat that we, as a race, face today. Being able to access vital health, education and social services and benefit from their fundamental rights is crucial for children affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, in particular AIDS orphans” said Kailash Satyarthi on the eve of World AIDS Day. “Many of these children are pushed into situations of child labour to be able to survive and look after their siblings, forced to take on the mantle of family providers having lost their parents and adult family members. If all children receive a complete primary education, the economic impact of HIV/AIDS could be greatly reduced and around 700,000 cases of HIV in young adults could be prevented each year – 7 million in a decade. It is important that we focus on the children and young people by putting them at the centre of development and working towards next generations free from AIDS and exploitation.”
Global March is encouraged by the new figures in the UNAIDS report and the ongoing efforts of ILO-IPEC and its members and partners to reach out affected children and assist them in their struggle.
For more information and knowledge on the work of the joint UN agencies on HIV/AIDS, please click hereto access the UNAIDS web site.
For campaigning tools, links and information for the 2011 World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS in general, Global March recommends visiting the following web sites: