Statement

Statement on World AIDS Day 2002

1 December 2002
Author: UNFPA

Today, on World AIDS Day, our duty to "live and let live" has special significance for the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, and also for those who remain highly vulnerable to infection.

Around the world, stigma and discrimination are the major obstacles to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Many of those who are most vulnerable to infection, such as women, young people, and migrants and refugees, are often the targets of attack, rather than the recipients of protection and support. In many cases, women are falsely blamed for spreading the disease and cast away from communities without any means of support. Young people, who account for half of new infections, need information and services to protect themselves. And communities caught in crisis and conflict, where people are especially vulnerable, require greater support to deal with HIV/AIDS.

Now, as never before, let us join hands to bring about changes in our behaviour, communities and laws to fight the epidemic. We must step up efforts to eliminate discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, and adopt and enforce legislation to protect human rights. We must also scale up efforts for HIV/AIDS education and prevention.

UNFPA is working to ensure that prevention information and services reach all those at risk, especially pregnant women, young people and communities affected by conflict. All of our efforts are based on the ABC approach: abstinence, be faithful and use condoms. But the number of condoms available is only a fraction of the need. Donor governments currently contribute 12 per cent of the funding that is needed for condoms in developing countries and Eastern Europe, and greater support in this area could save countless lives.

The focus of the World AIDS Campaign on stigma and discrimination represents an effort to place human rights at the forefront of global advocacy efforts. Now, as never before, let us "live and let live." Let us replace fear with compassion and positive action. Let us join forces to greatly expand services for care, treatment and prevention. Working together, we can win the battle against AIDS.

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