Each March, the UN and countries around the world celebrate Zero Discrimination Day, an event which particularly emphasises the rights of those living with HIV, and this year Egypt was no different.
The UN Joint Team on AIDS in Egypt is commemorating the event by liaising with Egyptian influencers and celebrities, to encourage them to use social media platforms to raise awareness that there is more to be done to reach zero discrimination, eradicate stigma and scale up prevention coverage.
The ambassadors of the campaign include actor Ahmed Malek, actress and model Salma Abu Deif, and actress Mai El Gheity.
Dr Ahmed Khamis, Egypt’s UNAIDS country manager, stressed that strides have been made in Egypt in regards to treatments and services for people living with HIV, but more has to be done to end discrimination and reach the goal of zero HIV by 2030, which is set by the UN.
The campaign aims to raise awareness and help people understand more about the epidemic, and thus stop discrimination against people living with HIV, Khamis said in a statement released by the UN Joint Team on AIDS to mark Zero Discrimination Day.
According to a factsheet released by UNAIDS, the number of new HIV infections worldwide in 2016 was estimated to be 1.8 million, while 20.9 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy by June 2017.
The latest statistics for Egypt, issued by UNAIDS Egypt in 2014, indicate that the number of registered people living with HIV in the country is around 8,800.
The estimated number of people living with HIV, including those who aren't registered, is 11,000.