The National AIDS Commission in collaboration with National AIDS/STIs Control Program of the Ministry of Health and partners on Tuesday, December 1, commemorated the 2015 World AIDS Day aimed at raising awareness on prevention of HIV, providing treatment, care and support services to those affected and infected with the virus.
The official celebration of World AIDS Day was observed in the Port City of Buchanan, County of Grand Bassa under the global theme: “Fast Track-Ending the AIDS Epidemic by 2030”, and the national Theme: “Liberia Fast Tracking: Scale up Treatment, Know Your Status, Use Condoms and End Stigma and Discrimination.”
The day brought together hundreds of citizens of Grand Bassa County including students and partners contributing to stop HIV from spreading throughout the Republic. The celebration was marked with parade through principal streets of Buchanan City, cultural performances and strong worded speeches cautioning government and partners to join forces to stop the spread of HIV by ensuring that 90 percent of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90 percent of people who know their HIV positive status are on treatment; and 90 percent of people on treatment with suppressed viral load.
Ahead of 1st December commemorations, the AIDS Commission in collaboration with its partners including the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Program and other UN agencies held series of activities including Community Outreach, a massive HIV Counseling and Testing campaign, mobilization of schools and Communities, sports tournament and competitions among others in Buchanan and across the country.
Addressing celebrants of World AIDS Day 2015, Madam Korto Reeves Williams, Country Director of ActionAid Liberia called on the government and developmental partners to focus more attention on integrating HIV, and Gender Based Violence programs.
Madam Williams who served as the 2015 WAD Orator said, if Liberia must make achieve its share responsibility of global response to ending AIDS by 2030, potential factors fuelling HIV infections, including GBV which includes rape, must be seriously prioritized.
“It is a call action that brings the elephant in the room on to the table before our very eyes. The context of Liberia’s society as it relates to violence against women and girls present extreme difficulties in achieving the goals of and objectives of institutions involve in the national response to HIV and AIDS,” Madam Williams maintained.
Speaking earlier, UNAIDS’ Country Director Dr. Betru Woldesemayat urged the government of Liberia and all well-meaning Liberians, as well as partners to collaborate in order to end the AIDS epidemic by year 2030.
The UNAIDS Country Director noted the world cannot defeat HIV in the absence of togetherness, noting: “We believe that we need to emphasize on the importance of working together. Collaboration clearly comes in many forms and at many different levels. It may come in the form of technical, financial and information and the need for maintaining it over the longer term.”
Other speakers include: Grand Bassa’s County Superintendent, Madam Etweda Gbenyon Coope; Madam Juanita Ramirez, Partnership Commissioner at the National AIDS Commission, and Ms. Josephine Godoe, Program Manager of Light Association, Liberia’s first association of People living with HIV.