WORLD AIDS DAY 2017 – Lathasha Subban

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“Sub-Saharan Africa is the region worst-affected by HIV and AIDS.  HIV/AIDS in South Africa is a prominent health concern; South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS compared to any other country in the world with 5,6 million people living with HIV, and 270,000 HIV related deaths recorded in 2011. “(UNAIDS)


Another year has passed, and another year we witness many lives being claimed by the HIV/AIDS. The disease seems to be creeping up on the world, with world statistics claiming that “an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV (including 1.8 million children) – with a global HIV prevalence of 0.8% among adults. Around 30% of these same people do not know that they have the virus.”[1]

Again, awareness and education become an important part of the campaign against HIV/AIDS. The facts are shocking, and USAIDS[2], fact sheet highlighted the astonishing statistics caused by the disease:

New HIV infections

Worldwide, 1.8 million [1.6 million–2.1 million] people became newly infected with HIV in 2016.

Since 2010, new HIV infections among adults declined by an estimated 11%, from 1.9 million [1.6 million–2.1million] to 1.7 million [1.4 million–1.9 million] in 2016.

New HIV infections among children declined by 47% since 2010, from 300 000 [230 000–370 000] in 2010 to 160 000 [100 000–220 000] in 2016.

AIDS-related deaths

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 48% since the peak in 2005.

In 2016, 1 million [830 000–1.2 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, compared to 1.9 million [1.7 million–2.2 million] in 2005 and 1.5 million [1.3 million–1.7 million] in 2010.


HIV/AIDS is still one of the most common killers in the world. The awareness about the disease has been on-going with many rising up to tell their stories, and deter our youth from becoming affected. South Africa has the highest frequency of the disease (5.6 million), and that in itself tells us that more needs to be done. As HR, AIDS programmes and awareness are a must within the workplace. Many employees who are infected rely on the support and confidentiality of the policies and processes in place, and HR has the responsibility to ensure that the environment is safe and supportive.

But there are other things that HR can drive within the workplace, like:

  • Link their CSI initiatives by creating AIDS programmes and education to rural communities.
  • Ensure that your Wellness Strategy included an AIDS awareness and “Know your status” opportunity. Many companies have nurses come through and in confidence test employees.
  • Create trust around the disclosure of the status, and create platforms that will support individuals who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Myth bust, by creating content and knowledge around the subject. This should include risks, infections, how one can become infected etc.
  • Create a database of contacts and counsellors who specialise in counselling individuals with HIV/AIDS.
  • Get wise with statistics and new developments around the disease, and use it to build in-house training programmes and seminars.
  • Create lifestyle awareness on issues that create the window for an individual to become infected.

On the 1st December is World Aids Day. It’s a day that we reflect and remember all those whose lives were cut short by the disease. We remember all those who fought for the fight against HIV, and give a heart felt thank you for those still fighting to end the disease.

The numbers are still too high, and yet again the fight against the disease still goes on. Support this fight, make the difference, create the awareness and become an educator of the disease. Wear your red ribbon in support, and commit to making a difference.

This article was written by Lathasha Subban, Head: Knowledge and Innovation of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP).  For more information, you can follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 or visit their website on