World AIDS Day was globally commemorated today with more than awareness events and free HIV testing sites. Those honoring World AIDS Day were asked to a push for universal access to treatment and prevention. HIV/AIDS rates have globally increased this year and an estimated 33.4 million are currently living with AIDS. Of that figure, 15.7 million people are adult women.
Some progress in achieving more universal access has already been achieved. According to UNAIDS’ 2009 AIDS Update (see PDF), there has been a 35 percent increase throughout the world in access to Antiretroviral therapy from 2003 to 2008. South African President Zuma, announced his plan today for a national prevention and testing initiative, which will include guaranteed treatment of all children under the age of one who test positive for HIV.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said in a speech (see PDF), “From today, we reject all excuses for failure, we tolerate no more injustice, and we bond together in a wedge of activism, slicing through complacency to achieve our goal of universal access.”