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Messaging key in the fight against HIV/Aids

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HIV/Aids remains a public health concern across the globe as the rate of infections rises sharply. As the world commemorates World Aids Day, the theme “Putting ourselves to the test: Achieving health equity to end HIV” calls upon agencies and public health officials worldwide to address the disparities associated with the rapid spread of HIV in communities.

Despite frequent public campaigns across the country to educate the public on preventive measures and health care, HIV is one of the most stigmatising infections, meaning agencies and the Health Ministry should consider good approaches to fight the epidemic.

In recent years, public campaign messages have instead contributed to high levels of ignorance in communities. Individuals living with HIV felt offended and regarded it as overexposure. These campaigns were used by health organisations to spread information and educate the public on matters of HIV/AIDS.

Health equity goals 

Research indicates one in 10 individuals live with HIV and are unaware of it. A recent World Health Organization report shows 38.4 million people had HIV as of 2021, two-thirds of whom were from the WHO African region.

Approaches that focus on health equity goals such as proper counselling in rural areas, equal distribution of protective gear such as condoms and PrEps, supporting people living with HIV with enough ARVs and re-engaging them in discussions that involve proper health care should be used. 

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be accessible in all parts of the world. ART suppresses viral replication and allows the immune system to reboost energy to fight viruses. Condoms too should be available and affordable to all. Poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, especially in remote regions, are the leading causes of infections. 

Public health campaigns should segment audiences based on education and other demographic factors to curb the menace. 



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