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Together, we are the solution

INTERNATIONAL AIDS MEMORIAL DAY
Sunday, 17 May 2009

© UNICEF Malaysia/2007/Nadchatram
Siti, an HIV-positive mother and widow with her nine month old daughter Min. Min his HIV-negative as a result of a Government sponsored PMTCT program.

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 April 2009 - The theme for the 2009 International AIDS Memorial Day, "Together, We Are the Solution," is aimed at promoting  both global solidarity and resolution to the problem of AIDS, and that only when we work in partnership together, can we see change.

In its AIDS Outlook 2009 report, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)   reported that there is a global stabilisation of HIV: fewer people were infected with the virus in 2007 with estimates declining to 2.7 million compared to 3 million in 2001.

This includes the decline in the number of children newly infected with HIV, from 450,000 in 2000 to 370,000 in 2007 owing largely to expanded coverage of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programs. Additionally, fewer people are dying of AIDS due to the accessibility of life-saving treatment and drugs in the developing world.

"The Report offers a flame of hope that the destructive path charted by HIV since it first came to light in the early 1980s is in fact reversible," says UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Mr. Youssouf Oomar, who is also UNICEF's Special Representative to Brunei.

"We don’t have to tolerate the loss of millions of lives," adds Mr. Youssouf. "We also don’t have to accept setbacks in our hard-earned development gains around child and maternal mortality, and a widening gap between the rich and poor, all of which can undermine social and economic security."

Change is possible with the mobilisation of entire societies to enable a community-led transformation of norms, values and practices that fuel this epidemic.

Through leadership and participation of all levels of society – from government leaders to civil society activists, faith-based groups to community-based organisations, corporate moguls to media professionals, we can save lives, protect our collective futures and ensure an AIDS-free generation.

While International AIDS Memorial Day (IAMD) is tinged with sadness in remembering all those lost to AIDS, it need not be a day stained with futility. Instead, we can mark this day with HOPE – by battling the debilitating disease of stigma and improving the lives of the many men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS. As an alternative to responses scarred by denial, dread, denunciation and discrimination, we can shape our actions to one of courage, creativity, care and compassion.

IAMD provides us the opportunity to be energised by the courage of mothers and fathers living with HIV, the determination of activists and the responsive leaders everywhere, to rededicate ourselves to making our world safe and fit for children.

Together, with a common mission and purpose, we are our children’s solution.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

IAMD - Event Background
The International AIDS Memorial Day, the largest and oldest grassroots AIDS campaign, is a unique event that promotes discussion, education and action around HIV and AIDS. From the beginning, the Memorial has served as a forum to honor the memory of those lost to AIDS, show support for those living with HIV, raise awareness of the disease and mobilise action in response to its harm. The Memorial involves all sectors of society, from civil society to governments, community-based organisations to faith-based groups as well as families, teachers, young people and most importantly, people living with HIV and AIDS.

IAMD - History of Event
The first International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held in 1983, when the cause of AIDS was unknown and no more than a few thousand AIDS deaths had been recorded. The organisers wished to honor the memory of those lost to this mysterious disease and to demonstrate support for those living with AIDS. That remains the focus of the event today. Today, the Memorial has become a way not only for communities to take action by publicly mourning loved ones lost to AIDS, but also to strengthen local and national commitments to fighting the pandemic. In small communities, it can help to increase awareness, understanding, volunteerism, and fundraising. In large cities, it brings together a diverse spectrum of people who care about HIV and AIDS. In all cases, the event creates a sense of global solidarity, and generates worldwide attention. Local observances of the Memorial vary from community to community. Events can vary from a few friends gathering at a park or a place of worship to thousands of people marching through town holding candles and singing songs.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
(603) 2095 9157 • (+6) 013 366 3452
Email: inadchatram@unicef.org

Shiao Eek, Tee
(603) 2095 9154 • (+6) 012 207 0138
Email: setee@unicef.org

Faradiza Zahri
(603) 2095 9154
Email: fzahri@unicef.org   

 

 

 

 

International AIDS Memorial Day 2009



Together,
we are the solution
Sunday, 17 May 2009


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