The theme for World AIDS Day 2012 is "Getting to Zero." Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus that damages a person's immune system by destroying blood cells that help fight against diseases. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the late stage of HIV infection where the immune system is severely damaged, leaving the person susceptible to infections and tumors. HIV is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health HIV/AIDS Statistics and Reports online, Georgia is ranked sixth highest in the nation for its cumulative reported number of AIDS cases through December 2009, and in 2010, the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Georgia was over 40,000 (http://health.state.ga.us/epi/hivaids/.)
UNAIDS is a global strategy adopted for years 2011 to 2015 that aims to advance progress in halting and reversing the spread of HIV worldwide by 2015.
UNAIDS strategy goals by 2015:
- Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work
- Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated, and AIDS-related maternal mortality reduced by half
- All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs
- Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment
- TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half
- People living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support
- Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half
- HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions
- HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses
- Zero tolerance for gender-based violence
For more information about HIV testing and counseling in the North Georgia Health District, log onto the district website at http://nghd.org/District-Programs/hiv-aids-get-tested-know-your-status.html or call (706) 281-2360.
For more information about World AIDS Day 2012 and the UNAIDS strategy, log onto http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/.