Share this article
2021 marked 40 years since AIDS was first reported, however, AIDS remains a persistent public health challenge and global crisis, although significant strides have been made to reduce the burden of HIV and end AIDS.
Some noteworthy advances include the scientific research leading to the development of HIV tests, advances in the HIV treatments, prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and improved treatment for people living with HIV. Today, because of treatments, people with HIV, are living long healthy and fulfilled lives with a significantly lower the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
Although some headway has been made, there is highly unequal progress in expanding access to HIV testing and treatment with antiretroviral therapy, hindering efforts to end AIDS. More than 36.3 million people have died from HIV or AIDS-related illness, with too many vulnerable people left behind including children, adolescents, mothers, and key populations living with HIV, stalling progress (UNAIDS, Global HIV & AIDS statistics – Factsheet 2021).
Significance of World AIDS Day and PATA’s mission
World AIDS is important because it reminds the public and key decision-makers to invest in HIV funding, increase awareness, fight stigma and discrimination and, improve education to end HIV/AIDS, even more so now with the 2021 World AIDS Day theme to End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.
PATA’s core goal is that all children and adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa receive optimal treatment, people-centered care and support and live long, healthy lives and its mission is to mobilise, strengthen and build resilience in a network of health providers, facilities, and communities on the frontline of paediatric and adolescent HIV service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some of the Campaigns and Actions
Leading up to World AIDS Day with the theme End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics, PATA engaged in several advocacy and policy campaigns.
- PATA’s 2021 summit theme was purposely titled “Clinic and Community in Conversation: closing the gap for children and adolescents in the HIV response”. The summit was a synergetic meeting that brought together a diverse community united in a renewed call to action to accelerate efforts to close HIV treatment access and service delivery gaps.
- As part of the READY Movement consortium, PATA mobilised health providers with the aim to enhance Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV trainings and to create an enabling environment for universal access to quality healthcare services for Adolescent and Young People living with HIV (AYPLHIV) across Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Furthermore, PATA was instrumental in contributing to global and regional forums including the first International Paediatric HIV Symposium in Africa (IPHASA) where PATA chaired a session and presented a poster on expanding the global HIV epidemic response and transitioning treatment regimens.
- PATA is part of the Young Families First Campaign consortium, supporting young parents affected by HIV and their children.
- PATA recognises that health providers are the backbone of effective health systems thus, the organisation joined the World Health Organisation in its Year of the Health Care Worker theme for 2021, where PATA sought to recognise health providers for their continued dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight their plight and some of the challenges that they faced since the COVID-19 pandemic started, by conducting a regional COVID-19 survey aimed at health providers and health facilities.
PATA’s goal is to effect positive change in paediatric and adolescent HIV policy and service delivery on the frontline in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, we can build bridges and close gaps to ensure all children and adolescents living with HIV receive optimal treatment, people-centered care, and support to live long healthy lives on World AIDS Day and every day