December 1 is World AIDS Day. Around the world, people stand together in solidarity with those affected by HIV, highlighting the complex circumstances that make people vulnerable to this virus.
The theme this year is “Universal Access and Human Rights”. Worldwide, people living with HIV are discriminated against, unlawfully dismissed from their jobs, refused health care, thrown out of their homes and communities, and turned away from school. Some are even subjected to imprisonment or death.
The protection of human rights reduces people’s vulnerability to contracting HIV. Respecting the rights of people living with and affected by HIV not only saves lives, it helps ensure a more effective HIV response.
CAFOD staff and partners in the UK and around the world will be taking part in special services and events to mark World AIDS Day.
Bishop Challoner R.C. Secondary School and CAFOD Portsmouth will be holding a World AIDS Day Mass on 1st December for over 300 of their pupils, together with guests from Farnborough Hill, and St Peter’s secondary in Bournemouth. Young people from the participating schools will be taking an active part in the liturgy on the day by reading, providing the music, singing and lighting special candles during the offertory to represent the people in each continent of the world, affected by and living with HIV and AIDS.
Meanwhile, CAFOD partner VIHAS de Vida in Mexico has been chosen to represent civil society organisations at the official World AIDS Day ceremony in that state.
Take action this World AIDS day
Teenagers Zabiya and Josephine are part of a home-based HIV support group in Uganda. They can share their status and fears without stigma; encourage each other to take their medicine, and have fun as young people. [Catherine Ogolla ]
In 2005 world leaders promised to deliver universal access to HIV treatment by 2010. We haven’t achieved universal access, but more than five million people are alive today because they have received that life-saving treatment.
This progress proves it can be done, and incredible milestones are now within reach – such as stopping children being born with HIV.
You can take action this World AIDS Day. Please call on the UK government to honour the promises they made to ensure universal access to services for people living with HIV.
World AIDS Day forms part of the campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence , which runs from the 25th November – 10th December.