GENEVA/ YANGON, 20 November 2012—The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has appointed Nobel peace prize winner and Member of Parliament Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination. In this new role, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will call on her fellow citizens and people around the world to eliminate stigma and discrimination.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted the invitation during a recent meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé at her residence in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar's capital city. She said: "It is a great honour to be chosen as a champion for people who live on the fringes of society and struggle every day to maintain their dignity and basic human rights. I would like to be the voice of the voiceless."
A strong supporter of the AIDS movement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has publically engaged with people living with HIV as part of her efforts to counter stigma and discrimination. Earlier this year at a major international AIDS conference in Washington DC, USA, she delivered a message via video link, supporting people living with HIV.
"From small villages to big cities, from Africa to Asia, people are talking about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," said Mr Sidibé. "She is inspirational. We are honoured to have her as our UNAIDS Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination. I hope her example will inspire community leaders everywhere to speak out against stigma and discrimination."
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is concerned that stigma and discrimination create an environment of fear that prevents people from accessing life-saving HIV services. "In Myanmar we are currently treating more than 40 000 people living with HIV. It is important that everyone who suspects they may be at risk seeks an HIV test and knows their HIV status early, so they can prevent new infections and can access life-saving treatment when needed."
Source: UNAIDS Press release
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