United Nations in Turkmenistan hold ‘Get Tested’ dialog and discussion on World Aids Day
1 December 2017. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. As part of the UNAIDS campaign to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the UN Health group in Ashgabat has held an event on World Aids Day to raise awareness of the impact HIV/AIDS is having worldwide. This important event also commemorated the many millions of people who have died from the illness.
Raising awareness of the dangers of the virus and learning about how to combat it were discussed at length during the UN event. Representatives from the French, British and USA embassies tackled many issues including sharing their own country's experience in supporting the “Get tested” initiative, innovative ways to tackle HIV, the role civil society plays in de-stigmatising HIV/AIDS and the need for society to embrace regular HIV testing.
The WHO Country Office also honoured Worlds Aids Day by setting up a mobile HIV testing lab. UN Staff and participants wore red ribbon and were able to get a free and confidential HIV test with results available within 24 hours. This event was a tremendous opportunity to show support and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world.
In the opening speech, Ms.Shaheen Nilofer, Resident Coordinator a.i., UNICEF Representative has noted: “World AIDS Day is an important reminder to the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education”.
The HIV epidemic continues to rise at an alarming pace in the European Region, mostly in its eastern part, which is home to almost 80% of the 160 000 new HIV diagnoses. This is the highest number of new cases ever recorded in one year. If this trend persists, we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. 1 in 2 people living with HIV in Europe is diagnosed late. Testing people late, particularly those at higher risk of infection, results in late treatment and further contributes to the ongoing spread of HIV. The later people are diagnosed, the more likely they are to develop AIDS, thus leading to more suffering and death.
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day implemented by the United Nations, with the annual event first being held in 1988. Ending the AIDS epidemic is one of the key health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and will inspire broader global health and development aims. There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016 while 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses during 2016.
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