World AIDS Day This Year is About “Getting to Zero”

Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. The “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and builds on last year’s successful World AIDS Day “Light for Rights” initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations.

It is against this backdrop that the African Union Commission, in collaboration with UNAIDS and other partners dealing with HIV/AIDS issues, have organized a series of socio- cultural activities ahead of the commemoration of the World Aids Day scheduled to take place on 1st December 2011. The event at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will be a crowd puller, aimed at sensitizing the population on HIV/AIDS. Participant will include, representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, the International organization, United Nations agencies, the African Union and the youths.

Organised by the Department of Social Affairs and the Directorate of Medical Services of the AU Commission, activities making the event will range from: HIV counseling and testing at African Union (AU) Medical Centre; Launch of AU Commission HIV/AIDS Workplace Policy scheduled for 2nd December; the Family evening consisting of poems, drawing, dances, drama etc., on 3rd December; a Panel discussion on the theme of 2011 World AIDS Day to take place on 1st December; and a Press Conference, radio and TV interviews scheduled for the same day.

According to the organizers, as from December 1st 2011 until 2015 it is envisioned that different regions and groups will each year choose one or all of the Zeros that best addresses their situation. The decision to go with the millennium development related goal of “Getting to Zero” comes after extensive discussions among people living with HIV, health activists, broader civil society and many others more than a hundred organizations in all.

The 10 goals to be attained by 2015 are:

1. Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work;

2.  Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half;

3.  All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.

4.   Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment;

5.   TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;

6.  All people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support.

7.  Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half ;

8.  HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions;

9.  HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses;

10.  Zero tolerance for gender-based violence

Journalists are invited to cover all the activities. The agenda and program of event will be sent subsequently.

Source:- African Union Commission (AUC) – November 16, 2011