Observer on Saturday - - News - By Michel Sidibé Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of UNAIDS Un­der-Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of the United Na­tions

This year marks the 30th an­niver­sary of the first World AIDS Day. Thirty years of ac­tivism and sol­i­dar­ity un­der the ban­ner of World AIDS Day. Thirty years of cam­paign­ing for univer­sal ac­cess to life-sav­ing ser­vices to treat and pre­ven­tHIV.

But af­ter 30 years, AIDS is still not over. We have miles to go.

World AIDS Day is a day to re­mem­ber the mil­lions of peo­ple who have lost their lives to AIDS-re­lated ill­nesses, many of whom died be­cause they couldn’t ac­cess HIV ser­vices, be­cause of stigma, be­cause of dis­crim­i­na­tion and be­cause of crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of key pop­u­la­tions.

On this World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is cam­paign­ing for peo­ple to know their HIV sta­tus and their vi­ral load. In 2017, 9.4 mil­lion peo­ple were sim­ply un­aware that they are liv­ing with a po­ten­tially deadly, but treat­able dis­ease.

If peo­ple don’t know their HIV sta­tus, peo­ple who are liv­ing with HIV can’t start treat­ment, and peo­ple who are HIV-neg­a­tive can’t get the knowl­edge and skills they need to keep that way. If peo­ple don’t know their HIV sta­tus, they can’t pro­tect them­selves, their fam­i­lies, their part­ners. If peo­ple liv­ing with HIV don’t know their vi­ral load, they won’t be sure that the treat­ment is ef­fec­tive, pro­tect­ing their health and stop­ping HIV trans­mis­sion.

Live life pos­i­tively.Know your HIV sta­tus.

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