World AIDS Day: Your Test Could Be Positive… Without You Knowing It!
On the occasion of December 1, World AIDS Day, the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention ATP + sounds the alarm and emphasizes that global solidarity and shared responsibility are the answer to defeating HIV / AIDS. World AIDS Day has been celebrated by Tunisia and the whole world since 1988: 32 years of activism to fight against this pandemic, various information and awareness campaigns, several programs and projects of solidarity, prevention and medical advances but much remains to be done! This year, the Tunisian public health ministry shocks us with alarming figures revealed by studies and international and national reports. Together, we can and must do better on December 01, 2020!
Thanks to universal solidarity and the responsibility of all, humanity is beginning to be able to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 has been an exceptional year, but the responsiveness of countries, the mobilization of groups and the motivation of people all together has taught us how humanity can survive a pandemic. The Tunisian association of positive prevention ATP + takes the opportunity of this year’s World AIDS Day to tell the world and Tunisia to learn the lessons of Covid19 because the 32 years already passed have not been enough to save humanity from another pandemic: HIV.
Today, data asserts that internationally there are 39.9 million people living with HIV and the death toll reached 770,000 in 2019. Nationally, the ministry , following the UNAIDS annual report, announces an estimate of 6,466 people carrying the HIV virus; only 1,303 are aware and under treatment, including 745 men, 524 women and 34 children.
“5,163 is the number of people with HIV without knowing it! Being contaminated by a virus, risking your life and that of people you love, without knowing it and unwittingly, being afraid of others, being terrified of contact are situations experienced by thousands of people this year during the Covid19 crisis, but also experienced by people who are carriers and have been living with HIV for several years, ”says Ms. Souhaila Ben Saîd, president of the ATP + association.
The Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention expresses its concern at the disproportionate increase in the number of women living with HIV and underlines the remarkable absence of the female condom at the national level. ATP + accuses the striking lack of funds. The association also reports the excessive difficulties experienced by people living with HIV in accessing the 3 basic means of fighting the virus; access to treatment, access to services and access to prevention.
ATP + recalls that improving the quality of life of PLHIV in Tunisia as well as our only way out of this pandemic is dependent on certain ineluctable demands:
• The decentralization and diversification of services throughout Tunisia, and the improvement of their quality,
• The abolition of all punitive laws,
• The implementation of a reliable strategy to put an end to all forms of stigma and discrimination, particularly in the healthcare environment,
• Consideration of women in all their diversity as key populations,
• The adoption of PrEP, (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), TPE or Post-Exposure Treatment and community screening as reliable weapons in the fight against the virus.