700,000 people died from AIDS related diseases and 1.7 million people were infected in 2019 – despite the fact that modern HIV medicine offers people living with HIV long and healthy lives and eliminate the risk of passing the virus on.
In other words – there were 700,000 perfectly preventable deaths and 1.7 million new infections that could have been avoided.
The HIV epidemic is one of the greatest humanitarian crises in recent history. A disaster that has claimed the lives of more than 30 million people. It is an epidemic that thrives where basic human rights are violated and where prejudice and discrimination flourish. Inequality, poverty and bigotry fuel the HIV epidemic.
Line Brøgger Kjærgaard – Head of International Department
The Danish AIDS Foundation works to bring both AIDS related deaths and new HIV infections down to zero by 2030.
The link to poverty, inequality and discrimination
Until the mid-1990s HIV killed every single person it infected. But with the advent of modern HIV medicine – known as antiretroviral therapy – that changed. Although it does not cure HIV, modern antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress the virus to levels where it cannot transmit to others.
Today’s medicine is so effective that it allows people with HIV to live as long and as healthy as those without the disease.
Medicine only works if you have access to it
Unfortunately, the benefits of the medicine have still not reached everyone. Because the reality is that a third of the world’s 38 million people living with HIV are without the medicine that would grant them a new lease on life and guarantee that they could not transmit it to others – and important means to curb the epidemic.
Worldwide, HIV plunges millions of people into poverty every year – it makes earners too sick to work, make breadwinners bedridden and keeps girls and young women out of school.
In turn, poverty fuels HIV – many girls, young women, and men are forced to sell sex for survival.
Discrimination and bigotry keep others – and often the same – on the fringes of society where it is difficult to get formal employment, access healthcare and to exercise basic democratic rights as well as enjoying human rights.