Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has issued a proclamation commemorating Dec. 1, 2021, as World AIDS Day in the Virgin Islands in accordance with the international day recognized around the world to remember the countless victims of the AIDS virus and to promote awareness of the illness.
The theme for 2021 is “End Inequalities. End AIDS” to highlight and confront the inequalities that exist in HIV service access. With a special focus on reaching people left behind, the World Health Organization and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.
“Division, disparity and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allowed HIV to become and remain a global health crisis. Now, COVID-19 is exacerbating inequities and disruptions to services, making the lives of many people living with HIV more challenging,” the governor wrote. “Poverty, instability, violence, lack of access to adequate health care and ignorance all contribute to the problem, and the global epidemic of HIV infection and AIDS requires a worldwide effort to increase communication, education and a united action to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.”
HIV and AIDS has killed more than 680,000 people worldwide as of 2020, and an estimated 37.7 million people, including children, are living with HIV.