Monrovia, November 25, 2013-The National AIDS Commission (NAC), National AIDS Control Program (NACP) of the Ministry of Health and partners have begun executing activities marking the observance of this year’s World AIDS Day in Liberia.
Observed on the 1st of December every year, World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness about the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It provides a platform to reflect on the achievements made in the response to HIV and AIDS, and to embrace with optimistic solidarity the challenges that remain.
World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988, and since then Governments and officials from all sectors in their respective countries have committed themselves to observing the day with speeches or forums on global and national themes aimed at reaffirming their commitments.
According to a joint NAC and NACP press release, series of activities have been designed for the successful observance of the day in Liberia under the global theme: Getting to Zero, with a national Theme: “Eliminating HIV Transmission from Mother Child in Liberia through Compassion.”
The release added that the formal launch of the 2013 World AIDS Day celebrations was held on Sunday, November 24 at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sinkor, while on Monday, November 25th, a community dialogue to provide stakeholders and citizens the platform to brainstorm on the country’s HIV and AIDS response will be held in the community of West Point, Montserrado County.
On Tuesday November 26, a workshop on HIV with religious leaders will be conducted at the Liberia Council of Churches Offices in Sinkor from 9:00 am-3:00 pm, while on Wednesday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m., the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will host a press conference where representatives from the National AIDS Commission, National AIDS Control Program and other stakeholders will discuss World AIDS Day and the national HIV and AIDS response.
The release further stated that on Friday, November 29 a Muslim Worship will be conducted at the 17th street Mosque in Sinkor by the Union of Muslims Association of Bomi and Cape Mount Counties (UMABCO) to involve all citizens irrespective of religious background in the national response.
On Saturday, November 30, a parade will commence at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town to the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville for a tournament under the theme: “Kick HIV&AIDS out of Liberia through sports, featuring the Senior Professionals and the Liberian Asian based players.
The release is quoted as saying; the week-long activities will be climaxed on Sunday, December 1, 2013 with the official indoor program at the Winners’ Chapel in Congo Town.
The National AIDS Commission is calling on Liberians and others within the borders of Liberia to use these activities marking the observance of this year’s World AIDS day to join in the creation of awareness in their communities in giving the prevention of HIV&AIDS a human face.
NAC said HIV&AIDS is present here in Liberia and undermining the country’s various sectors; therefore, a collective effort is required to prevent its spread in the country.
Statistics have shown that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007.
Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, serious challenges including stigma and discrimination, denial of one’s positive status among others continue to pose challenges to the national HIV and AIDS response.