The theme of 2022 World Aids Day highlights the importance of HIV testing. Everyone should get tested for HIV and know their status. The world is advancing a status-neutral approach to HIV testing that puts equity at the forefront. Under this approach, no matter what the outcome of the test, people should be connected with the necessary HIV prevention and treatment services, including strategies to address social determinants of health and barriers to access.
The world has also made remarkable strides since the first World AIDS Day commemoration 34 years ago. Scientific research has yielded innovations in HIV care, treatment, and prevention so that individuals with HIV can enjoy longer, healthier lives. Robust scientific studies have also shown that people who are on HIV medication and achieve and maintain viral suppression cannot spread HIV to others, which means that successful treatment further drives down new transmissions.
These advances have been possible due to strategic collaborations between governments, public-sector partners, multilateral institutions, non-government and philanthropic organizations, private companies, and research institutions. People with HIV have been central to this progress, and community-based organizations working in areas most affected by HIV are at the forefront of ensuring that the advances we have made translate into real improvements in the health and lives of the people they serve.
Yet despite our tremendous progress, the work is not finished. Globally, there are approximately 1.5 million new cases of HIV every year, including over 34,000 new infections in Kenya. The increase is attributed to the rise of new HIV infections among children, adolescents, and younger people where it is reported that a 52 percent increase was recorded for Kenyans aged 15-29 years as well as the shortage of HIV commodities and funding. Stigma, discrimination, and other structural factors, certain populations and geographic areas continue to bear most of the burden of this disease. The world must remain deeply committed to ending HIV everywhere by engaging and empowering communities, and by ensuring that our programs, research, and policies are informed by the voices of those populations most impacted by HIV. A health systems approach is recommended to address these systemic issues related to HIV and AIDS. Health Systems Management Association remains committed to empowering the leaders and health organizations to model broad-based measures that aim at addressing HIV and AIDS. Top on our priorities for 2023 is to empower the health systems researchers to document best practices in programming and utilization of knowledge and skills in combating PHC-based solutions to defeating the spread of HIV.