December 1st

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening health condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections. The human body cannot get rid of HIV and no effective HIV cure exists. So, once you have HIV, you have it for life. However, by taking HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART), people with HIV can live long and healthy lives and prevent transmitting HIV to their sexual partners. In addition, there are effective methods to prevent getting HIV through sex or drug use, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

First identified in 1981, HIV is the cause of one of humanity’s deadliest and most persistent epidemics. Since 1988 the World AIDS Day has been observed to spread awareness. This year's theme of  is "END INEQUALITIES. END AIDS". Tackling inequalities is a long-standing global promise, the urgency of which has only increased. In 2015, all countries pledged to reduce inequalities within and between countries as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026: End Inequalities, End AIDS and the Political Declaration on AIDS adopted at the 2021 United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS have ending inequalities at their core.

Ending inequalities does not just refer to the social stigma, that the HIV-positive face. There are actually a lot of other restrictions for them.

A number of countries restrict entry for people living with HIV. This means that foreigners with HIV may be refused entry, denied permission to work or settle, or even be deported. The situation is quite complex and changes from country to country. A few countries ban all foreign HIV-positive individuals from entering a country; others have no entry restrictions for tourists but require individuals to be HIV negative in order to apply for a work or residence permit. How these restrictions are enforced varies. In some countries, people applying for a visa or residency permit may be obliged to take an HIV test or to prove their HIV-negative status. In others, no documentation may be requested, but a foreigner who is found to have HIV could be deported. Not all countries have specific immigration laws relating to HIV but this does not mean that declaring HIV status will not cause issues.

Our overview shows that 140 countries have no restrictions at all in regards to the HIV-positive. But in 18 countries alone you can get deported.

HIV is not a niche condition. There were approximately 37.7 million people across the globe with HIV in 2020. Of these, 36 million were adults and 1.7 million were children aged 0-14 years. More than half (53%) were women and girls. Despite advances in our scientific understanding of HIV and its prevention and treatment as well as years of significant effort by the global health community and leading government and civil society organizations, too many people with HIV or at risk for HIV still do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure. Further, it not only affects the health of individuals, it also impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.

Despite these challenges, there have been successes and promising signs. New global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic, particularly in the last decade. The number of people with new HIV infections has declined over the years. In addition, the number of people with HIV receiving treatment in resource-poor countries has dramatically increased in the past decade and dramatic progress has been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive. Yet there is still a long way to go. So let's spread awareness.

Posted on
December 2, 2021
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