Whilst COVID19 has been a terrible pandemic, the AIDS crisis is one of the deadliest pandemics EVER, certainly within living memory.
35 million people globally have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses. 32 years after the first HIV diagnosis, around 37 million are living with HIV worldwide.
Let’s think about that.
That equates to just under half of the current UK population being dead and the WHOLE of the rest of the UK population living with HIV! HIV continues to pose a huge challenge to the future of the world’s young people.
Every day in sub-Saharan Africa, 750 girls and women are newly infected by HIV - and Zimbabwean girls are put at risk of HIV as they increasingly turn to sex work to survive the economic impacts of COVID-19.
In Nigeria, HIV is particularly prevalent amongst children due to 22% of the population being 10-19 years; but, shockingly, less than 30% of 15 to 24-year-olds can correctly identify ways of preventing HIV transmission.
Whilst the UK has made amazing progress on reducing infection rates, there is still a huge stigma around HIV, particularly amongst young people.
World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st of December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Our patron, Margaret Sentamu, highlights the importance of renewed global solidarity in order to meet the target of ending the pandemic by 2030:
We have been working hand in hand with partners in more than 15 countries since the 1980s when the HIV pandemic first hit and our mission remains as crucial now as it was 32 years ago.
I have been inspired by the way the ACET teams adapted their work to respond to the COVID19 lockdowns implemented in all their different countries. In the UK, all the ‘Esteem’ relationships and sex education training was quickly moved online, whilst ACET Nigeria also adapted their Esteem youth clubs to use WhatsApp, so that they could continue to discuss important sexual health topics.
Meanwhile, the Nehemiah Project, in Zimbabwe, assisted HIV positive women and girls in accessing medication and ensured that women and girls engaged in sex work could still access lifesaving contraceptives.
This week acet UK is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge to raise money so that we can mobilise and equip 420 champions to provide 42,000 vulnerable children and youth in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and the UK with effective Relationships and Sex Education and life skills training.
This will help protect young people from the threat of HIV transmission as they navigate growing up in our highly sexualised world.
Through increased emotional and relational wellbeing, they will be able to make informed choices, reduce their vulnerability to sexual gender-based violence, and girls in sex work will be empowered to leave the sex trade.
Your support will help us accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goal targets on AIDS by 2030 and ensure children and youth are not left behind.
You may feel physically cut off from the world currently but you can still make a huge difference in someone’s life - please do help us - every penny counts!”
Between midday on the 1st December and midday on the 8th, donations to acet UK’s work will be matched meaning your donation will be doubled!
One donation, twice the impact.
What your support will do...
£11 will protect 2 vulnerable children in Nigeria from harm. Through fun, interactive sessions at Kids Clubs, they will learn how to stay safe; build healthy relationships; prevent STI and HIV transmission and early pregnancy; be supported in their emotional wellbeing; and understand how precious they are.
£46 will keep 15 children in the UK safe from the dangers of pornography. Our effective, memorable Esteem sessions equip children to recognise false and harmful messages about sex from porn and the media. We provide an alternative voice, supporting children to value themselves and others, and to value sex.
£504 will empower 3 girls in Zimbabwe to leave the sex trade through vocational training. The girls will be able to choose a range of skills to learn, such as beauty therapy, hairdressing, juice making, tailoring, and baking, and will be supported with the skills to start their own business.