World Aids Day – Aids continues to claim around 2 million lives globally per year (27% of casualties are children

Today the world is commemorating World Aids Day, commemorated each year on 1 December. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of this illness.
In Swakopmund, World Aids Day was commemorated yesterday. The event was organised by the Swakopmund Municipality for the public and staff members of the Swakopmund Municipality.
The World Aids Day celebration has become the most recognised health day internationally and it also offers a key opportunity to global health organisations to increase awareness among people, to disseminate information on access to treatment as well as discussing preventative measures against infection, explained the Mayor of Swakopmund, Clr. Pauline Nashilundo.Clr. Nashilundo highlighted the importance to support those infected with HIV/AIDS. Whether an employee, a relative or friend, there is always hope. In the workplace the support for a person living with HIV/Aids not only enhances the quality of a life, but this person is more productive and a benefit to his or her employer.”Let us help our employees through education and prevention and ensure the happiness and gratitude of our workforce”, proclaimed Clr Nashilundo.
The commemoration this year include drama plays on the topic of HIV prevention. Then, the Mayor, councillors and municipal employees lit candles in respect of those who died of HIV/AIDS.According to the General Manager of Health Services in the Municipality of Swakopmund, Mr Clive Lawrence, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide between 1981 and 2012). Furthermore, an estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV today, making it one of the most critical global public health issues in recorded history.Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the AIDS pandemic continues claims an estimated 2 million lives each year, of which some 270 000 include children.
Lawrence further said: “World AIDS Day also highlights the success of worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as the importance of continued support for these efforts. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that global efforts have resulted in 20.9 million people receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in MID 2017”. He also said, despite this progress, HIV/AIDS continues to be a significant global public health issue. “According to CDC, in 2016, an estimated 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV, about 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, and 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV”, he added.
Delilah Uugwanga, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2000 was invited to give a motivational speech to the community and municipal staff of Swakopmund present at the commemoration. Uugwanga only started her anti-retroviral treatment in 2014. She explained the reason why she started so late was due the fact doctors were monitoring the CD4 counts of a patient first and treatment was only administered for people with a very low CD4 count. “After I found out I was HIV-positive, I was taking good care of myself and followed a healthy diet. It allowed me to survive with the virus in my body for 14 years”, said Uugwanga. Uugwanga further encouraged people to stand up against HIV and say “enough is enough”. She said: “the virus is in us but it is not controlling us”.

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