World AIDS Day 2007 celebrates LEADERSHIP
KUALA LUMPUR, 1 November 2007 – Every day in Malaysia people are coming together in their families, schools, communities, and workplace to say No to AIDS! Within their own spheres of influence, these unsung heroes have assumed the mettle of a leader, creating ripples to reverse the tide of HIV and AIDS in their own communities.
This World AIDS Day, observed annually on 1 December, we celebrate each and every one of them.
We celebrate the HIV-positive man who reaches out to educate troubled teenagers in his community, sharing how injecting drug use sentenced him not only to prison many times but also with a virus. We celebrate the housewife who spends so many of her afternoons talking to neighbours about HIV and how women and girls can protect themselves. We celebrate the mother who pulls her son aside to advice him to always love and care for his wife and to never infect her with HIV. We celebrate the parents who stand by their child, giving her the care and support she needs when she tests HIV-positive. We celebrate the little girl who admonishes an adult for discriminating against someone just because of HIV.
Leadership is found not only at the highest levels of government or in non-governmental organisations. Leadership is not attached to a designation or a name. Instead leadership is distinguished by “action, innovation and vision; by personal example and engagement with others; and by perseverance in the face of obstacles and challenges”.
Regrettably, we don’t have enough leaders in our midst, and with HIV looming threateningly over us, we cannot afford complacency any more. In a country that records an average of 16 new HIV infections every day and a doubling of HIV cases every three years, we need more of us in every sphere of society to become leaders in this fight against HIV and AIDS.
We need parents and teachers to inform themselves about this disease so that they can teach their children and students about HIV prevention without embarrassment. We need CEOs of companies to take the bold move to introduce HIV policies and education in the workplace. We need religious leaders to include positive messages on prevention and support in their sermons. We need parents to be responsible in their actions so that they don’t become infected with HIV. We need young people to make wise and informed choices so that they are protected, always. We need each and every one of us to say no to AIDS and not No to people living with HIV.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is engaging with Government, people living with HIV and AIDS, media, celebrities, religious leaders, women and youth to illustrate and celebrate this year’s World AIDS Campaign theme “Leadership”.
Kicking off World AIDS Day with a seminar for media editors on 1 November, UNICEF Malaysia’s program will include a forum for young people, a series of activities for religious leaders and teachers in Perlis as well as a women and girls futsal tournament in Penang, Johor and Kuala Lumpur.
Through our program, we aim to inspire as many Malaysians to become leaders and to articulate our vision to stand united against HIV and AIDS for children, young people and their families.
The responsibility and opportunity to be a leader lies within each and every one of us. We must be bold and courageous to rise to the challenge that HIV has dealt us and be determined to accept nothing less than victory.
NOTE TO EDITOR
World AIDS Campaign and Day 2007 – “Leadership”
This year, the World AIDS Campaign has selected "Leadership" as its theme. The theme will continue to be promoted with the slogan "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." The 2007/8 theme of “Leadership” will build on the 2006 World AIDS Day focus on accountability.
The overall purpose of the World AIDS Campaign from 2005 to 2010 is to ensure that leaders and decision makers deliver on their promises on AIDS, including the provision of Universal Access to Treatment, Care, Support and Prevention services by 2010.
World AIDS Day 2007
1 December 2007
WAD 2007 Newsline
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