“Promoting Health and Dignity Together” is the global theme of the International AIDS Memorial Day 2012. The theme aims to raise awareness around HIV and to promote respect for the human rights of people living with HIV. It is inspired by the Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention framework, a people-centered and human rights based approach to the HIV response developed by the Global Network of People Living with HIV.
Observed since 1983, the International AIDS Memorial Day, which takes place every third Sunday in May, falls on 20 May this year. With 33 million people living with HIV today in the world today, the Memorial serves as an important intervention for global solidarity to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and to give hope to new generations.
In Malaysia, MAC and its Partner Organisations, throughout the month of May, will hold multi-faith memorial services to remember the lives of more than 12,000 Malaysians lost to AIDS. Dialogues between key players in the national HIV/AIDS response and political and religious leaders are anticipated to mobilise the movement to improve access to HIV/AIDS treatment and to protect the basic human rights of people living with HIV.
“Scientific evidence showing that antiretroviral (ARV) treatment reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 96 per cent points toward the direction of our HIV/AIDS response and to where our collective resources must be channeled in the next few years. This calls for greater advocacy to remove barriers that impede access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care, in particular the high cost of ARV medicines and stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV,” ruminated Tan Sri Mohd Zaman Khan on what the theme means for the Malaysian HIV/AIDS response.