“This Years Theme is ‘ Ending AIDS by 2030 starts with me.’ ”
The Ministry of Health has announced the shift in date for this years World AIDS day Commemoration from the 1st of December to the 11th of December 2017.
The shift has been made in the spirit of accommodating more participation countrywide following the launch of the Universal HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment launched by His Excellency The Republican President of Zambia Mr Edgar Lungu on the 15th of August 2017, which necessitated focus being made on everyone getting involved in the fight against AIDS.
And the Ministry has stated that achieving epidemic control of HIV requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
This information was made available in a statement issued to the Press by Mr Stanslous Ngosa, Head Communications and External Relations at the Ministry of Health.
And Mr Ngosa said that the world AIDS Day was an annual event commemorated on the 1st of December worldwide as an opportunity for people globally, to unite in the fight against the pandemic and to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
He stated that World AIDS day was first commemorated in 1988 and was the first global health day.
” Since then, it has progressively become one of the most successful International days for raising awareness on a global issue.” He said.
And Mr Ngosa revealed that globally, 36.7 Million people were living with HIV in 2016 and over 35 Million have died from HIV/AIDS related illnesses.
” In Zambia, over 1.2 Million People are living with HIV and over a Million have died from the disease. This is despite the virus only being identified in 1984 , making HIV one of the most destructive pandemics in human history.” He said
Mr Ngosa however stated that a lot of progress had been made in curbing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
” Scientific advances have been made in regards to treatment, which is by and large accessible to many people. Laws are now in place to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, 46,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2016. We have noted that there are some people who still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV.” He said.
He stated that it was very important that each and every Zambian Citizen knows their status and were taking appropriate and practical steps to protect their health and that of their families.
” Those that test negative need to be fully supported and empowered with knowledge and information so that they remain negative. In addition, stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.” He said.
He stated that World AIDS day was an important day because it worked to remind the public and government that HIV/AIDS had not yet gone away.
” There is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. It is also an opportunity to show solidarity with millions of people living with HIV Worldwide. Some activities have been lined up leading up to the commemoration which includes ;
The candle light service which will be on the 30th of November 2017.” He said.
He named other activities as
– Community based interventions such as
i. Door to door testing,
ii. Edutainment, road shows in the community. ii. Awards ceremonies to reward champions in the fight against AIDS, HIV etc.
” Every community is called upon to actively participate in the scheduled activities as well as the national and Provincial communications that will be conducted countrywide on the 11th of December 2017.” He said.
He stated that this was an opportunity for all citizens to commit themselves to the fight against HIV /AIDS in Zambia in line with the theme ” Ending AIDS by 2030 starts with me.’ Which called for everyone to take keen interest in their own health as a sure way to achieve epidemic control by 2030.