|UNICEF Mongolia Representative, Bertrand Desmoulins with children at the launch of AIDS campaign|
The Global UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS Campaign was launched in Mongolia on 25 October 2006.
The launch coincided with the First Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in Low Prevalence Countries which was held 25-27 October 2006 and was hosted by the Government of Mongolia and co-organised by The UN Country Team Mongolia in collaboration with the regional offices of UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.
The Chairperson of the National Authority for Children Ms Togtokhnyam Mijiddorj made opening remarks, on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia. She stated that although Mongolia stands as a low HIV/AIDS prevalence country, current data points to the high risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). In 2005 STIs comprised 47.4% of all the communicable diseases in the country, especially among young people.
Of the 25 HIV/AIDS cases registered in Mongolia, four have died and the incidence of HIV/AIDS has increased four-fold within the last two years. The 2005 surveillance evidenced that the awareness rate among youth of 15-24 years of age merely reaches 16.1%.
Mr. Prasada Rao, Regional Director of UNAIDS noted that the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS among children and young people is having far-reaching impact on the economies and societies of Asia Pacific countries. He called for urgent action to ensure that children and young people are accorded due priority as scaling up the interventions towards Universal Access.
Dr. Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative in Mongolia stressed the importance of prevention strategies for young people, voluntary counseling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission and a comprehensive national strategy.
He also emphasized the need to address the effects of stigma and discrimination associated with people living with HIV/AIDS and the need to take into consideration the specific targets around the four “Ps” and added a fifth “P” about the importance of building partnerships.
Dr. Desmoulins mentioned that people aged 10-24 years account for more than half of the country’s population. Therefore, there is a need to reach out to the adolescents and young people with information, skills and services on prevention of HIV/AIDS.
UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador, Ms T. Ariunaa expressed her concern about the shocking facts and figures caused globally by HIV/AIDS and made an appeal to unite our efforts to work together with children and young people on prevention of HIV/AIDS at both global and national levels.
|A buddhist religious dance ("Tsam") during the global AIDS campaign, Mongolia|
A Buddhist religious dance (“Tsam”) was performed at the event, symbolising the aspiration of an HIV/AIDS-free Mongolia.
School children joined the event and expressed their unanimity and support to the global launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS Campaign.
Statement by Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative, Mongolia
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