COVID-19 has further complicated a global effort to combat HIV that has already greatly fallen short of the 2020 targets UNAIDS had established to great fanfare in the mid-2010s.
This year's commemoration, which will be held virtually in line with Government's policy to minimise the risk of the transmission of Covid-19, will run under the theme "Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility".
The United Nations said models show there could be an additional 123,000 to 293,000 new HIV infections and between 69,000 and 148,000 AIDS-related deaths by 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic's effects on HIV responses.
Mabuza said that great strides had been made in meeting the first target of ensuring people knew their HIV status and now 92% of people living with the virus knew their status.
"Ninety percent of people living with HIV should know their status by 2020, 90 percent of all HIV positive people should receive treatment by 2020, 90 percent of all people on treatment should have their viral load suppressed by 2020".
"The pandemic is making it even more challenging for countries to provide these services, particularly in areas affected by conflicts, disasters, outbreaks and rapid population growth".
Dr, Rosmond Adams, the director of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), noted that regional restrictions being imposed as a result of COVID-19 have had an impact on the ability to deliver HIV-related services, including educational and prevention measures, treatment and laboratory tests.
"Most elderly people who got infected with HIV are males, because in general males are more sexually active at an older age and tend to seek extramarital sex for satisfaction", he said. "What is most pleasing is that we have recorded these achievements despite our economic challenges", he said.
Now more than ever, USAID is committed to strengthening health care and fostering self-reliance to ensure communities in need have the support and resources to control and, ultimately, end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"Despite these challenges, significant progress is happening in African countries".
Women and girls accounted for 48% of the 1.7 million new HIV infections globally in 2019, according to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS. From community level to district level, right up to provincial and national referral hospitals, work is in progress to ensure universal health coverage for our people.
It suggests that if those targets are met, the world will be back on track to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.