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World AIDS Day 2021: How Aids relates to Ripple Effect's work

Today is international World AIDS Day, when we can all be reminded of how the scourge of HIV/AIDS prevents people from attaining the quality of life and the sustainable livelihoods they deserve.

This is the day when we might really get the understanding that every organisation working in the international development sector is "affected" by this terrible disease. You don't have to be a healthcare NGO.

The World AIDS Day campaign for 2021 calls for everyone to 'Rock the Ribbon'

For us as a charity working in sustainable agriculture, many of the families we work with have been devastated by AIDS - it's the reason why we work with many "orphan-headed households". They are amongst the poorest of the poor. And this is why we need more partnerships between organisations, at all levels.

All nations have committed to ending Aids around the world by 2030. The latest Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report warns us that the road to ending Aids is becoming more challenging. We are looking at 7.7 million more people at risk of dying of AIDS-related deaths during this decade, if decisive and bold steps are not taken to overcome entrenched the inequalities which perpetuate this terrible disease.

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, of the adolescents aged 15–19 newly diagnosed with HIV, six out of seven of them will be girls.
  • Young women aged 15–24 are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men.
  • Around 4,200 adolescent girls and young women aged 15–24 years became infected with HIV every week in 2020.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections in 2020.

​​​​​​​What is needed is urgent action to deal with the compounded threat of a double pandemic: Covid-19 and HIV. This is going to require reimagining and redefining ideas of exclusion and our understanding of vulnerability when we look not only at health but social norms, cultures, the environment and the economy.

by Winnifred Mailu, Head of Thematic Support & Capacity Building. Ripple Effect