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World AIDS Day

On World AIDS Day, we urge the Irish government to continue to strive to meet its Millennium Development Goal commitment of halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015.

There have been great improvements in the treatment and care of people living with HIV over the past decade. But death due to HIV and AIDS-related illness remains unjustifiably high in the world’s poorest countries. 

Two versus one

Every day, over 5,500 people die from AIDS-related illness, with the majority of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. There are two new HIV infections for every one person starting HIV treatment.

The hunger link

A major factor is that nearly one billion people do not receive adequate nutrition, and the HIV pandemic largely overlaps with this population. With effective interventions however, both hunger and HIV are preventable problems. Concern’s global HIV and AIDS programme advisor, Breda Gahan explained:

Food is the first medicine, yet the global food, fuel and financial crises are compromising international commitments and impacting heavily on HIV and AIDS levels in developing countries. It has now been established that there is a clear and critical link between HIV and AIDS and food insecurity in the developing world. Hunger and malnutrition are inextricably linked with HIV and AIDS. Hunger increases one’s risk of contracting HIV and HIV contributes to malnutrition.

Progress

However, considerable progress has been made over the past ten years and a new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS states that the number of people newly infected with HIV is declining and AIDS-related deaths are decreasing, which gives us new hope. But there are still 10 million HIV and AIDS sufferers in need of treatment who do not have access to it. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to make progress in this area and make treatment available to all. 

>> Read about our HIV work in India