One of the major challenges in hosting successful World AIDS Day events today is combatting “AIDS fatigue”.
Corporates have been very responsive to the HIV & AIDS epidemic and many have been hosting World AIDS Day events for a number of years. Receiving an HIV test at least annually is important, but many employees would argue that they already know their status and have no reason to test again, particularly those individuals that are HIV positive. Because of this, World AIDS Day events that centre around testing, awareness, and prevention are often not well attended.
Many companies are aiming to combat this “AIDS fatigue” by offering broader testing opportunities at events that cover lifestyle diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This is meaningful, but a diluted emphasis on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a missed opportunity.
Six good reasons to provide STI screening and awareness at your World AIDS Day event
More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections are acquired worldwide every day.
STIs have been associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, cervical cancer, infertility, and multiple reproductive tract complications.
There is a lack of knowledge around STIs. This, coupled with a lack of training in health workers, widespread stigma, and low accessibility to screening services results in low awareness levels.
Most organisations are already expanding the scope of their World AIDS Day initiatives to include screening and awareness of lifestyle diseases. There is a strong case for including screening awareness for other sexually transmitted infections too.
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Global Estimates of Syphilis in Pregnancy and Associated Adverse Outcomes: Analysis of Multinational Antenatal Surveillance Data. Newman L, Kamb M, Hawkes S, Gomez G, Say L, Seuc A, et al. PLoS Med 10(2): e1001396. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001396