n/a World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day was first designated by the United Nations General Assembly on 1 December 1988, and has been recognised worldwide in every year since.
World AIDS Day is a time to celebrate the gains made in treating and preventing HIV/AIDS, as well as in protecting the human rights of those living with HIV/AIDS. It is also a time to commemorate the lives lost and to learn from past mistakes. But, just as importantly, it is a time to raise public awareness and advocate for change.
Awareness-raising activities take place in almost all countries around the world, often with mass participation, mobilisation of AIDS organisations, and high-level government officials speaking out. There is broad, non-restrictive participation.
Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge
To celebrate the 2007 and 2008 World AIDS Day theme of leadership, the World AIDS Campaign (WAC) is launching the Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge. In collaboration with national, regional, global and constituent partners, this initiative asks people from all over the world to pledge their leadership to help stop AIDS. These pledges collected online, by mail and at events, will be used to create exhibitions, banners and other visibility actions during major events in 2008. With a goal of 100,000 signees, these pledges serve as a persuasive tool for leveraging greater political leadership on universal access to AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support and act as a visual example for key national and international decision-makers to follow.
29/11/2007 Measles deaths in Africa plunge by 91%
Measles deaths in Africa fell by 91% between 2000 and 2006, from an estimated 396 000 to 36 000, reaching the United Nations 2010 goal to cut measles deaths by 90% four years early. The spectacular gains achieved in Africa helped generate a strong decline in global measles deaths, which fell 68% worldwide – from an estimated 757 000 to 242 000 – during this period.
20/11/2007 Global HIV prevalence has levelled off
Improvements in surveillance increase understanding of the epidemic, resulting in substantial revisions to estimates
New data show global HIV prevalence—the percentage of people living with HIV—has levelled off and that the number of new infections has fallen, in part as a result of the impact of HIV programmes. However, in 2007 33.2 million [30.6 – 36.1 million] people were estimated to be living with HIV, 2.5 million [1.8 – 4.1 million] people became newly infected and 2.1 million [1.9 – 2.4 million] people died of AIDS.
There were an estimated 1.7 million [1.4 – 2.4 million] new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007—a significant reduction since 2001. However, the region remains most severely affected. An estimated 22.5 million [20.9 – 24.3 million] people living with HIV, or 68% of the global total, are in sub-Saharan Africa. Eight countries in this region now account for almost one-third of all new HIV infections and AIDS deaths globally.
Since 2001, when the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS was signed, the number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has increased by more than 150% from 630 000 [490 000 – 1.1 million] to 1.6 million [1.2 – 2.1 million] in 2007. In Asia, the estimated number of people living with HIV in Viet Nam has more than doubled between 2000 and 2005 and Indonesia has the fastest growing epidemic.
These findings were released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the report 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update.
Continuing improvements to latest estimates
The new report reflects improved and expanded epidemiological data and analyses that present a better understanding of the global epidemic. These new data and advances in methodology have resulted in substantial revisions from previous estimates.
While the global prevalence of HIV infection—the percentage of people infected with HIV— has levelled off, the total number of people living with HIV is increasing because of ongoing acquisition of HIV infection, combined with longer survival times, in a continuously growing general population.
Global HIV incidence—the number of new HIV infections per year—is now estimated to have peaked in the late 1990s at over 3 million [2.4 – 5.1 million] new infections per year, and is estimated in 2007 to be 2.5 million [1.8 – 4.1 million] new infections, an average of more than 6 800 new infections each day. This reflects natural trends in the epidemic, as well as the result of HIV prevention efforts.
The number of people dying from AIDS-related illnesses has declined in the last two years, due in part to the life prolonging effects of antiretroviral therapy. AIDS is among the leading causes of death globally and remains the primary cause of death in Africa.
“These improved data present us with a clearer picture of the AIDS epidemic, one that reveals both challenges and opportunities,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot. “Unquestionably, we are beginning to see a return on investment—new HIV infections and mortality are declining and the prevalence of HIV levelling. But with more than 6 800 new infections and over 5 700 deaths each day due to AIDS we must expand our efforts in order to significantly reduce the impact of AIDS worldwide.”
19/10/2007 Successful fight against tuberculosis in south-western Russia
By the end of the 1990s, the tuberculosis epidemic had reached alarming proportions across the Russian Federation. Orel district, in the south-western part of the country, was no exception. "The TB situation in the region was very bad, especially from 1999 to 2000," said Dr Boris Kazyenny, chief doctor at Orel District Tuberculosis Dispensary in the regional capital.
This photo story shows how Orel district, using the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended Directly Observed Treatment Strategy, known as DOTS, has brought the epidemic under control. Furthermore, the oblast is close to reaching many targets set to reduce the global burden of TB worldwide by 2015:
* by 2005, detect at least 70% of new sputum smear-positive TB cases and cure at least 85% of these cases;
* by 2015, reduce TB prevalence and death rates by 50% relative to 1990;
* by 2050, eliminate TB as a public health problem (<1 case per million population).
11/10/2007 World Sight Day
Date: 11 October 2007
World Sight Day is held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. It has been the main advocacy event for the VISION 2020 initiative since 2000.
About 37 million people worldwide are blind and 124 million people have poor vision. Another 150 million people are visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive errors. Three quarters of cases of blindness are treatable and/or preventable. However, without proper interventions the number of people who are blind is likely to increase to 75 million by 2020. WHO supports the efforts of all Member States to develop and implement national eye care plans.
World Sight Day provides a platform for organizations to encourage governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to actively support global blindness prevention efforts. Events are organized worldwide by VISION 2020 member and supporter organizations.
"VISION 2020: The Right to Sight" is a global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness worldwide by the year 2020. It is coordinated jointly by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and has an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.