World AIDS Day 2020
World AIDS Day was first observed as a commemorative event on 01 December 1988 when Health Ministers from around the world met under the auspices of the World Health Organization and agreed on the concept of the day as creating an opportunity to pay special attention to, as well as show solidarity for the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Every year, UNAIDS communicates the proposed theme that guides the design and implementation of various commemorations. However, it should be noted that countries have the autonomy to develop their own customised themes for the WAD commemorative campaigns.
The proposed South African theme for the 2020 World AIDS Day is: We’re in this together, Cheka Impilo! Centred on the Cheka Impilo National Wellness Campaign, this theme challenges individuals to make responsible health choices. South Africa’s WAD theme has been aligned to the Cheka Impilo Campaign for the past two years since its launch. It is fitting that this alignment be sustained given that 2020 was the target year for realisation of the 90-90-90 strategy launched by UNAIDS in 2014. The National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIs 2017 – 2022 adopted the strategy, which the Cheka Impilo seeks to support.
The 2020 theme also encapsulates the intentions of the International World AIDS Day theme, Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility. This theme is informed by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has turned a spotlight on health and the effects of pandemics on lives and livelihoods as well as the inter-linkages between health and other social issues, among others, reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth. In light of this, the global theme calls on the global community to work together to intensify e orts to eliminate stigma and discrimination and ensuring approaches that are people-centred, human rights-based and gender- responsive in order to end HIV and COVID-19. Crucial in this is the need to fully finance health, strengthen health systems, and ensure access to lifesaving medicines as well as vaccines and diagnostics.
Both the national and the global themes imply that public health is a collaborative effort and a joint responsibility in which individuals, communities and elected authorities and service providers all have important contributions to make. Ending AIDS requires that communities be engaged in identifying and helping to address their specific needs, including those of their most marginalised and vulnerable members, and also that authorities be accountable for the quality and delivery of the services required to address those needs.
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