World AIDS Day 2009
Every year on the first of December, the world comes together to raise awareness about the epidemic, stand in solidarity with those infected and affected by HIV, honour those who have died, focus attention on issues that are key to a successful response, and inspire action.
In her first World AIDS Day statement as UNESCO’s Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova said it will not be possible to achieve Universal Access without fully respecting the universality of human rights, regardless of a person’s age, sex, ethnicity, occupation, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation, with a particular concern for those most at-risk and vulnerable to HIV infection (See the Director-General’s message in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
This year’s World AIDS Day theme of ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’:
- reinforces the central importance of protecting and promoting human rights as a prerequisite to a successful AIDS response;
- highlights individuals’ rights, including to:
- dignity and self-determination;
- non-discrimination on the basis of one’s HIV status; and
- equal access to health care and life-saving prevention and treatment programmes;
- underscores the need for human rights measures to protect those most vulnerable to and affected by AIDS.
World AIDS Day offers an occasion to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS issues and programmes, to launch new initiatives, and to undertake advocacy. UNESCO offices around the world are organizing and participating in a wide range of activities building on the World AIDS Day theme and the Organization's longstanding work on HIV and AIDS (Click here
for more information on UNESCO’s World AIDS activities).
As a founding member and one of the 10 Cosponsors of UNAIDS, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNESCO shares the UNAIDS Executive Director’s sense of hope and concern expressed in his message on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2009 - hope as significant progress has been made to prevent new infections and to expand access to treatment for those who need it, and concern as stigma and discrimination, and violations of human rights, continue to undermine efforts to turn back the epidemic; and further progress is needed to prevent new infections.
World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us to support rights-based approaches to HIV and AIDS to make Universal Access a reality.