There's been a lot of progress in the fight against AIDS over the past 30 years, but as the 30th World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 - people still die from the disease.
"These reflect, HIV is rapidly increasing among the general population, the so-called safe population, which is a big threat to our generation", said Dr. Tokugha Yepthomi, senior medical consultant, Christian Institute of Health Sciences & Research (CIHSR), Dimapur. "World AIDS Day reminds us that despite these gains, 1 in 4 people with HIV in the Region still don't know they have it, have not begun treatment and are therefore at greater risk of dying prematurely and infecting others".
The 32-year-old, who is the Member for Brighton Kemptown, wanted his statement to help tackle the stigma around HIV and Aids and inform people that advances in treatment meant he lives a totally unaffected life with the virus.
People who test negative are further counselled on risk factors and risk reduction, encouraged to take a pro-active approach towards their sexual health and connected with appropriate services as necessary. And around 5 million people are living with both HIV and viral hepatitis, with most of these people unaware. There is now no cure but effective treatments allow most HIV positive people to live a long and healthy life.
"Those who have HIV or who have recently been diagnosed should know that they are free to pursue every aspect of public life without hindrance". To make matters worse, estimates indicate that only 75% of people with HIV know their status. This year's theme is "Know your status". In 2017, 1.8 million people were newly infected and more than 40% of those affected still do not have access to treatment.
Yepthomi said early detection is of outmost importance as it equips one with knowledge and open avenues to protect oneself, family members and loved ones and also empowers people to make choices on HIV prevention.
Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for his ongoing commitment to Ending the Epidemic by expanding access to HIV care for people who are uninsured and underinsured".
In the video, Varadkar demonstrated to viewers how quick and easy to receive a Rapid HIV Test which can develop a result in 60 seconds after getting a few drops of blood from a finger prick. The PEPFAR intervention by the American government has saved 13 high HIV burdened countries who are poised to achieve epidemic control by 2020.
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