On Saturday 1 December events will be organized all over the world to raise awareness of AIDS and HIV. In 1999, combating HIV/AIDS was declared a Millennium Development Goal. Since then the efforts of the international community have had some success in halting and reversing the spread of the disease. In his statement for World AIDS Day, the Secretary-General said “The number of people accessing life-saving treatment rose by 60 per cent and new infections have fallen by half in 25 countries – 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS-related deaths have dropped by a quarter since 2005.” Nevertheless, every year, more people are found to have been infected by AIDS. According to the Health Protection Agency in the UK 5,600 people were diagnosed with AIDS in the UK in 2011.
To raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, events are being organized across the UK. In London, a special World AIDS Day service will be held between 12.00 and 14.00 at the Mildmay hospital chapel. A similar service, with music, readings and the lighting of candles, will take place in the evening in St George's Church in Belfast. Apart from the many events across the UK, red ribbons, the icon of World AIDS Day, can be bought in music stores and health clubs across the country.
In many countries outmoded laws, misguided judiciary systems and punitive policing practices – based not on science but on fear and prejudice – fuel the epidemic. Therefore, the purpose of World AIDS Day is not only to make people protect themselves from situations in which they can be infected by AIDS, but also to raise awareness and end the discrimination of people who are AIDS-infected. To this end, the World AIDS Campaign has selected ‘Getting to Zero’ as the theme of AIDS Day 2012.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
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