World AIDS Day – #closethegap
01 December 2014
Anne Babb, General Secretary of IFBC shares some thoughts on World AIDS Day
It is in the hands of each country and each Government to reduce alcohol related harm. There are overall about 1 million crimes reported annually around the world and 30% of these are directly linked with alcohol consumption. Sadly alcohol consumption often leads to situations that cause harm to others. The trouble is that when alcohol acts as a depressant, many negative thoughts come to surface and may result to actions that would not have surfaced without alcohol. This then leads to new emotions that may cause irresponsible behaviour such as violent outbursts or unsafe sex. For example in Europe one woman in three has experienced sexual assaults since they were 15 years old. It is estimated that 3.7 million women in Europe have experienced sexual violence within 12 month period. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2014)
WHO Global statistics at the end of 2013 indicate that around 35 million people are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Each year around 2.5 million more people become infected with HIV and 1.7 million die of AIDS. Although HIV and AIDS is found in all parts of the world, some areas are more afflicted than others.
As an International organization IFBC wants to highlight that HIV/AIDS, like alcohol, is everyone’s problem no matter where you live – no one can ignore it. It is NOT the person carrying the problem that should be stigmatized or judged. We must build societies where we all take responsibilities of our actions and national laws and policies need to cover issues of prevention, treatment and aftercare. Anybody with a serious problem needs appropriate help, love and structures where they can safely deal with their problem. This year UN is calling for Fast Track Actions to end the AIDS epidemic as a global health threat by 2030.
If the world does not rapidly scale up in the next five years, the epidemic is likely to spring back with a higher rate of new HIV infections than today
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says:”Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world.”
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