Globally, the AIDS response over the past five years has seen unprecedented gains. Today, there are 18.2 million people receiving HIV treatment. More than two million additional people are beginning treatment each year (Source: UNAIDS).
But prejudice, discrimination and poverty continue to exclude many people around the world from this progress. Youth who can’t afford school fees miss out on sexual and reproductive health education. Because of gender inequality, women and girls are more vulnerable to HIV and its complications.
World AIDS day is observed each year on December 1. This year’s theme from UNAIDS—my health, my right—emphasizes that a world without AIDS will depend on ensuring the right to health solutions for all.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada is actively working with partners around the world to make care more accessible for those living in vulnerable communities. Our church is helping people fight against stigma and discrimination, providing access to counselling, treatment and HIV testing, and teaching and equipping people to prevent its spread. Care is provided to people living with the disease, as well as support to orphans and vulnerable children. Together, we are working to foster a world without AIDS.
Opening up a Dialogue in Malawi
In Malawi, Phillimon Nkhana leads a PWS&D-supported youth club—a place to discuss challenges related to HIV and AIDS, share life experiences and engage in awareness raising and counselling to improve health. Phillimon shares that youth are accessing health services, being tested so they know their HIV status, and teaching each other that regardless of their status, they are not alone. Most importantly, young women and men learned that if they are HIV positive, it is no longer a death sentence. “We’re learning, gaining knowledge and sharing that knowledge,” shares Phillimon. “I have learned I can change lives. We are youth and we are leaders.”
Together, we are working towards a world where there are no new cases of HIV, where mothers don’t worry about transmitting the disease to their children, and access to prevention options is available for all. We are living in hope of the time when no more people die of AIDS.
This World AIDS Day, we continue to live in Christ’s hope. As we reflect on the challenges and successes in the fight against AIDS, let us continue praying for those whose lives remain affected.
You can inspire others to learn more and help fight AIDS:
- Talk about AIDS with family and friends. Visit unaids.org for information.
- Advocate for treatment for all
- Support HIV and AIDS programs by raising funds for PWS&D
- Learn about PWS&D’s response at WeRespond.ca/hivaids and read about the impact of the PCC’s Towards a World Without AIDS initiative with the resource below:
Towards a World Without AIDS Impact Report
Donate Today! Donations can be made online, through your church, by mailing a cheque to the PWS&D office or by calling 1-800-619-7301 ext. 291.
Worship resources are available to call your congregation together in a time of prayer and reflection this World AIDS Day:
World AIDS Day 2017 Bulletin Insert
World AIDS Day 2016 Prayer Service
2015 World AIDS Day Worship Service