In the video clip which lasts no more than two minutes, Varadkar said that "I am in a GP (General Practitioner) surgery here in Dublin for World Aids Day and I am taking a Rapid HIV Test as part of a campaign to raise awareness and to encourage people to know their status". However, about 9.4 million people did not know that they were living with HIV.
She said that it was also crucial to ensure that 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their status; 90 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy; and 90 per cent of people living with HIV, and who are on treatment, achieve viral load suppression. During the intervening decades, HIV testing services became widely available - routinely through clinical settings and to higher-risk populations through community-based approaches.
Since the start of the epidemic in 1981 about 77.3 million people have become infected with HIV and 35.4 million [25.0 million-49.9 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses in the same period.
Despite this progress, however, in Latin America, the rate of new HIV infections remains unchanged at around 100,000 per year - a reduction of just 1 percent since 2010. Doing so can help people with and at risk of HIV access the care they need - be it for TB, mental health, hepatitis or another disease. Ukraine keeps the leading position in Europe in terms of new HIV infection cases. Testing is therefore a vital element in preventing further spread of the virus and ensuring that those with HIV have a better quality of life.
PAHO/WHO also recommends that the age at which young people can take an HIV test without the consent of a parent or guardian be reduced in line with the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The occasion also celebrates the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, first initiated by WHO in 1988.
The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education measures on AIDS prevention and control.