Byanyima says that without communities, 24 million people would not be on treatment today and that without communities led by women living with and affected by HIV, the world would not be close to ending new HIV infections among children, raising orphans and caring for the sick.
The Joint United
Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima
has emphasized the need for communities to take part in the fight against HIV.
This is carried in her
press statement issued as the World today commemorates the World AIDs Day under
the theme "Communities making a Difference."
"I believe in
communities. Communities make change happen. Communities are the best
hope for ending AIDS because communities have fought against HIV right from the
beginning! As the epidemic raged through our countries, cities, villages, women
held communities together and bore the higher burden of care for their
families. For far too long we have taken their volunteerism for
granted," reads part of Byanyima's statement.
She says that without
communities, 24 million people would not be on treatment today and that without
communities led by women living with and affected by HIV, the world would not
be close to ending new HIV infections among children, raising orphans and
caring for the sick.
ago, a Burundi woman called Jeanne was the first person to disclose that she
was living with HIV. Today, Jeanne is holding leaders accountable and fighting
for the right to health care. Pioneers like Jeanne have been joined by
younger leaders, like 20-year-old Yana, who was born with HIV in Ukraine. Yana
founded Teenergizer, a group bringing together young people across Eastern
Europe. In a world where power resides with old men, she wants her peers to
have a voice and a choice," says Byanyima.
She also cites Consider
Fiacre, who lives in Central African Republic, displaced by conflict along with
thousands of others. Byanyima says that Fiacre cycles to a clinic, crossing
barriers and checkpoints to collect anti retroviral medicines for him and
members of a group he belongs to. The UNAIDS Executive Director says that
without this support, each person would have to make the dangerous journey on
She says these examples
show that communities make the difference all over the world but
that the way communities are being taken for granted has to change.
//Cue in: “on World
She appeals to
governments to live up to their promises about the fight against the killer
disease. Some if the promises are the commitment to at least 30% of HIV
services being community-led and the 6% of all HIV funding going to
community mobilization, promoting human rights and changing harmful laws that
act as barriers to ending AIDS.