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World AIDS Day is observed on 1 December every year. It aims to increase awareness of the disease, fight the stigma associated with it, improve HIV education and mobilize resources for the global response to the epidemic.

Millions of people are vulnerable to HIV infection, and AIDS remains a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age and young adolescents. Stigma and discrimination continue to impede the realization of people’s rights, including access to essential information and services to prevent and treat HIV.

UNFPA promotes integrating HIV responses with sexual and reproductive health care, part of an overarching strategy for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services, including condoms. UNFPA is also a cosponsor of UNAIDS. 

Nepal has already rolled out a national HIV/AIDS strategic plan. The recent National HIV/AIDS Strategy 2011-2016 has laid a concrete roadmap in planning, programming and reviewing of the national response to the epidemic.

Nepal has made remarkable progress in its HIV response over the past decade. This success was made possible because of the partnership between the government, parliamentarians, development partners, communities, young people, civil society and other stakeholders.

The National HIV Strategic Plan 2016-2021 — “Nepal HIV Vision 2020” — launched by the Ministry of Health last year commits to accelerating actions focusing on strategic investments in HIV programmes for key populations and in priority geographical areas.

The vision of the Ministry of Health is to make Nepal a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person will have access to high-quality life, extending care without any form of discrimination. The Government of Nepal together with development partners is working to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

In Nepal, 7 in 10 women and 9 in 10 men know that the risk of getting HIV can be reduced by using condoms and limiting sex to one monogamous, uninfected partner. Knowledge of HIV prevention methods is highest among women and men from the wealthiest households and those with SLC and above education.

Nearly half of women (47%) and 51% of men know that HIV can be transmitted during pregnancy, delivery, and by breastfeeding. Forty-four percent of women and 36% of men know that HIV transmission can be reduced by the mother taking special medication*.

Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Only 3% of men had two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months.

Only one-third of women and 58% of men know where to get an HIV test. One in ten women and 2 in 10 men have ever been tested for HIV and received the results. However, the majority of women (89%) and men (80%) have never been tested for HIV.

Data source: Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016