About 39,5 million people are living with HIV and Aids worldwide. World Aids Day aims to strengthen the partnership between all who are involved in the fight against HIV and Aids, including governments, the private sector and communities.
World Aids Day was started by the World Aids Campaign in 1997 to look at what has been achieved in the fight against the disease. It also encourages leaders and decision makers to keep their promises. These include ensuring access for all to treatment, care, support and prevention by 2010.
The theme for World Aids Day, “Stop HIV and Aids. Keep the Promise”, was adopted in 2005. It is set to continue until 2010. It aims to remind world leaders who are involved in the fight against HIV and Aids of the promises they made and their responsibility to deliver on these promises. This means they should show their leadership and commitment at all levels to provide care and stop the spread of the disease.
Countries are encouraged to organise events around this theme, but may also choose their own sub-themes in line with their particular needs.
The organisers of the World Aids Day Campaign include the Global Network of People Living with HIV/Aids, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/Aids, the Youth Coalition, the Global Unions Programme on HIV/Aids, the International Council of Aids Service Organisations, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the International Women on Aids Caucus.
South Africa will commemorate the day under the main theme, but the focus will be placed on renewing and strengthening partnerships to fight the disease. The fight against HIV and Aids is not the responsibility of government alone. World Aids Day will serve as a reminder to our leaders that all role players must be consulted in HIV and Aids programmes. In this way, communities, civil society organisations and the business sector can take hands to work together with government to fight the disease and stop it from spreading.
Families and individuals are a very important part of the partnership. People are still reminded that to prevent infection with the virus, they must take responsibility, live healthy lifestyles and practice safe sex. This year on 1 December, the fight against HIV and Aids will be in the spotlight all over the world.
- Muzi Mkhwanazi