World AIDS Day: Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise
Maputo, 1 December 2006- Every year on December 1, people around the world unite to mark World AIDS Day. Stop AIDS/Keep the Promise is the theme chosen this year to call our attention to the need for accountability in the response to HIV and AIDS. The pandemic has become the world’s leading cause of death among women and men aged 15 to 59. An estimated 12.2 million children aged 0-17 have lost one or both parents to AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Mozambique, about 99,000 children under the age of 15 are living with HIV or AIDS and an estimated 380,000 lost their parents to AIDS-related illness. Mozambique is scaling up the national response to the devastating impact of the pandemic on children, but stigma and discrimination are still major barriers.
Associations of People Living with HIV and AIDS are key partners in helping to prevent new HIV infections among children and adolescents and challenge discriminatory attitudes. UNICEF is working with them in primary schools – reaching out to children aged 10-14 who constitute the ‘window of hope’ – to implement school awareness programmes that not only teach children about HIV and how to prevent it, but also advocate against stigma and discrimination..
A range of interactive communication channels, including theatre, mobile units and community radio, also promote the active participation of communities in issues related to HIV and AIDS and encourage people to reflect on the importance of reducing stigma and discrimination.
Click on the feature story link in the blue box on the right to see how community theatre groups are helping to raise awareness on the importance of challenging stigma and discrimination in Mozambique.