“We must not rest”

Candles form a red ribbon as a symbol of the fight against AIDS © Florian Schuh

On World AIDS Day, organizations call for better services to combat immunodeficiency disease. Development Minister Gerd Muller is also providing 40 million euros next year for the global fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

This was announced by the Ministry of Development on Friday in Berlin. The money is to be used to finance HIV tests and medicines, for example.

Life-saving medication

According to the ministry, 1.8 million people worldwide are infected with the virus every year. 37 million people live with HIV.

Around 15 million men and women are unable to pay for life-saving medicines, it was reported. "We must not rest on our laurels and must continue to invest in treatment and, above all, prevention," said Gerd Muller (CSU).

Investing in treatment and prevention

The German Foundation for World Population referred to the difficult situation of women in sub-Saharan Africa. There mainly young women infected with the disease. "Too many girls don't know they're infected," said executive director Renate Bahr. She called for more sex education, access to contraception and better protection against sexual violence to prevent infections in the future.

The German Aids Federation is currently running a campaign to inform people about the success of therapies. Under the motto #wissenverdoppeln, the "relieving message" is to be spread that by regularly taking medication, HIV transmission is no longer possible even during sexual intercourse.

Incurable disease

Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) warned that despite medication, AIDS is still an incurable disease and pointed to the search for vaccines and innovative therapies.

"Only if we succeed in preventing or curing infections with HIV and other life-threatening pathogens can we significantly improve global health and thus create the basis for social and economic development worldwide," she told the Catholic News Agency (KNA).

"Hardly imaginable conditions"

The German Children's Hospice Association urged better care for HIV-positive children. Worldwide, 1.8 million girls and boys are infected with the virus. Every second child does not receive adequate treatment. The supply of medicines is inadequate, especially in Africa. Conditions there are "hardly imaginable".

There is a lack of doctors, nurses and medicines. "All this means an agonizing death for children with Aids."

Disadvantages and discrimination for HIV-positive people

According to the Lesbian and Gay Association, HIV-positive people in Germany can lead self-determined lives thanks to medical advances.

However, they are too often discriminated against, also by politicians. They would still be at a disadvantage in the insurance system and in old-age provision.

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