Today is World AIDS day. More than 33 million people are currently living with HIV around the world, according to the UN, and the vast majority of them (22 million) are located in sub-Saharan Africa
“We have halted and begun to reverse the epidemic. Fewer people are becoming infected with HIV and fewer people are dying from AIDS,” said Executive Director Michel Sidibé in the 2010 edition of UNAIDS’ annual report
“However we are not yet in a position to say ‘mission accomplished.’ Growth in investment for the AIDS response has flattened for the first time in 2009. Demand is outstripping supply. Stigma, discrimination, and bad laws continue to place roadblocks for people living with HIV and people on the margins.”
Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, “people on the margins” often means women and children. As a result, there has been more and more integration of HIV/AIDS programs with gender and maternal health. The environmental community has also worked closely with HIV/AIDS interventions in places where the destruction of natural resources makes certain populations more vulnerable than others and valuable conservation efforts are threatened.
As development efforts become more cross-sectoral, it’s important to keep in mind and maximize these connections between community, economic, and environmental health.
Check out The New Security Beat’s coverage of HIV/AIDS integration with other health and environment programs including coverage from the Global Health Initiative’s “Integrating HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health Services” event last year, a sit-down interview on the challenges facing HIV-positive adolescents with Harriet Birungi of the Population Council in Kenya, and an examination of how gender-based violence contributes to women’s vulnerability to HIV.
Sources: Population Reference Bureau, UN, World Wildlife Federation.
Map Credit: World AIDS Campaign.