FIGHT

Jamaica Gleaner - - WORLD AIDS DAY 2016 -

this far with­out your hard work, pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion.

World AIDS Day is com­mem­o­rated glob­ally every year on De­cem­ber 1. On this 28th World AIDS Day, we take the op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate life, as we ac­knowl­edge our progress in the fight against HIV, and to achiev­ing the goals laid out for us in Ja­maica’s Vi­sion 2030: to make Ja­maica the place of choice to live, work, raise fam­i­lies, and do busi­ness.

The theme for this World AIDS Day is ‘Keep the Prom­ise: Hands Up for HIV Preven­tion’. This is a call for us to re­mem­ber our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a united na­tion to sup­port our broth­ers and sis­ters in their fight against HIV, with­out stigma, with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion. It is a call for our world lead­ers to keep fund­ing health care and HIV preven­tion ini­tia­tives. The AIDS Health care Foun­da­tion’s ‘Keep the Prom­ise’ cam­paign un­der­scores that “uni­ver­sal ac­cess to health care is a right – re­gard­less of one’s wealth or income”.

In or­der to meet the goal of end­ing AIDS by 2030, we must take a fast-track ap­proach to reducing new HIV in­fec­tions, reducing AIDS-re­lated deaths and elim­i­nat­ing HIV-re­lated stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion. We will not tol­er­ate dis­crim­i­na­tion against our HIV-pos­i­tive com­mu­nity, as it cre­ates a bar­rier to the treat­ment, care and sup­port nec­es­sary for their sur­vival. We must change our at­ti­tudes and work to­gether to make the fu­ture bet­ter for the gen­er­a­tions to come.

The min­istry con­tin­ues to pro­vide treat­ment and sup­port for per­sons liv­ing with HIV and AIDS. We are work­ing on ex­pand­ing ac­cess to an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment even fur­ther and test­ing our vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions with the hope that ev­ery­one will know their HIV status by 2030. Know­ing your status is the first step to­wards achiev­ing this health goal.

As we come to­gether to com­mem­o­rate another World AIDS Day, I chal­lenge you to not only sup­port those liv­ing with HIV, but also to make it your duty to pro­tect your­self and your loved ones from the ill­ef­fects of risky sex­ual be­hav­iour. We can only suc­ceed if all of us play our part. DR DANA MOR­RIS DIXON Chair­per­son Board of Di­rec­tors NFPB-SHA

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