|© UNICEF/HQ04-1220/ AMI VITALE|
|On World AIDS Day, countries around the world joined UNICEF and its partners in putting children at the forefront of the fight against HIV and AIDS.|
By John Allison
NEW YORK, USA, 1 December 2005 – UNICEF marked World AIDS Day by making it a truly global day of action and awareness in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Activities surrounding the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign took place in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, while in New York, six more of UNICEF’s most well known Goodwill Ambassadors added their support to the AIDS campaign through a series of special television messages.
Eastern Europe sends a message
In Bosnia and Herzegovina the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign was given a boost by BH Telecom and RS Telecom, which together sent an SMS message to all subscribers, an e-mail message to their internet customers, and printed a generic message on the back of bills sent to all telephone users. The SMS message reads: “Currently 2.2 million children in the world are infected by HIV/AIDS. How can you prevent it from happening to our children?”
“In our region of Europe in the last four years, some 75 per cent of reported infections were in people younger than 30 years old. It is children and women who are most affected and most vulnerable to infection throughout world,” said UNICEF Representative in the country Helena Eversole.
North Africa speaks up
Meanwhile in Egypt, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and the Pacific, Dr. Nafis Sadik, participated in the inauguration of a ‘World AIDS Day Workshop’.
The workshop, organized by the Ministry of Health and Population, brought together participants directly involved with HIV/AIDS care, support and treatment in Egypt, as well as other participants indirectly concerned with the issue. Additionally, people living with HIV took the opportunity to speak out about their lives and problems encountered living with the virus in Egypt.
Further south, in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan, over 1,200 Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, government authorities and UNICEF officials came together for the Sudan launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS. Simultaneous activities took place in Kassala in the east, Juba in the south and other towns throughout the country.
The Middle East reaches out
In Lebanon the UNICEF Country Office organized several special events focused on reaching out to the largest population group at risk from HIV/AIDS: young people.
Two TV spots about AIDS were produced, which will air on seven TV stations for the next month and in popular nightclubs for one week, starting today. The spots will also be shown during two special, NGO-sponsored concerts taking place on 3 December.
In Iran UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah launched the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign saying, "Children are the missing face of AIDS – missing not only from global and national policy discussions on HIV/AIDS, but also lacking access to even the most basic care and prevention services. Children must be at the forefront of the fight against AIDS."
High schools throughout the capital, Tehran, today held awareness lectures and various activities designed to bring fun to AIDS education. And for the first time ever in Iran, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is issuing a postal stamp in recognition of World AIDS Day. Several other HIV/AIDS-related events will take place in the next week, including a four-day film festival and a concert.
Iraq also marked World AIDS Day by releasing a joint statement from UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Population Fund. The statement said that the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Iraq could increase dramatically if unified actions are not taken and preventive measures put in place to keep the deadly disease in check.
Stars shine in New York
In New York a new series of special public service announcements for the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign was launched featuring UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan, David Beckham and Whoopi Goldberg, and UNICEF UK Ambassador Robbie Williams and UNICEF Ireland Ambassadors Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan.
The television messages were the latest such PSAs produced for the campaign by UNICEF. Other Goodwill Ambassadors who star in their own 30-second spots include Danny Glover, Angélique Kidjo, Lang Lang, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Sir Roger Moore, Ralph Fiennes and Ewan McGregor.
HIV/AIDS campaign links