World AIDS Day
30th November 2018
In 1988 the United Nations designated 1st December as World AIDS Day. It provides an opportunity for people all over the world to support those living with HIV and remember those who died from AIDS-related illnesses.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV. More than 70 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1980s, and over 35 million have died.
The majority of those living with HIV are in low and middle-income countries, with over 65% in Sub-Saharan Africa. With such numbers, HIV continues to be a key global public health issue (AVERT 2018).
As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has made a commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and is working with governments and development agencies at local, national and international levels on this initiative.
In eSwatini (Swaziland), ADRA-UK is working to enhance livelihoods and increase food security for people living with HIV. With a population of 1.4 million, eSwatini has the highest prevalence of HIV in the world. Over 27% of the population are HIV positive, and 86% of adults are receiving antiretroviral drugs to treat the infection (UN AIDS 2018).
ADRA-UK is supporting 400 smallholder farmers in the Lubombo and Shiselweni regions with growing maize, sorghum and sweet potato crops by providing training and establishing links with local and national markets, so farmers can sell their produce.
It has also set up 20 school and 3 community Food Nutrition Gardens which encourage school children and community members to grow their own vegetables. As many of the garden members are receiving antiretroviral drugs, ensuring they can have access to food on a daily basis is essential. Since the beginning of the project, yields have increased up to 60% and members have been able to share their surplus produce with family and neighbours. Not only this: members have said they enjoy being part of the garden as it provides them with a support network.
On this World Aids Day, we ask you to remember these communities and those around the world living with HIV.For more information ADRA-UK’s work, please see our website.
[Darja Markek, Programmes Officer at ADRA-UK]