Getting to Zero – Zero AIDS-Related Deaths: 2011 World AIDS Day Theme Announced – (September 5 – Cape Town, South Africa) World AIDS Day this year is about "Getting to Zero." Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. Backed by the United Nations the "Getting to Zero" campaign runs until 2015 and builds on last year’s successful World AIDS Day "Light for Rights" initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations.
"The potential for creative, connected and meaningful campaigning is really exciting,” says World AIDS Campaign Africa Director, Linda Mafu. "Our organization will focus on Zero AIDS Related Deaths, but the choice is there for others to pick a different zero or all three."
The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS Related Deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. A demand they honour promises like the Abuja declaration and that African Governments at very least hit agreed targets for domestic spending on health and HIV in support of the human right to the best attainable level of health care for all.
It’s a global campaign that spotlights how our fundamental right to health is intrinsically and inextricably linked to other basic rights – The right to food, to shelter, to freedom, to clean water and safety. Crucial too is access to affordable life saving quality medicines free from the crippling effects of excessive profit taking. In the coming months the World AIDS Campaign will be spotlighting a range of Getting to Zero initiatives to help see an end to AIDS related deaths.
“It’s going to be amazing decision makers need to understand that people living with HIV , the marginalized, the dispossessed – all of us – want our rights.” Linda Mafu adds. “I can see all sort of events on World AIDS Day – For example, marches that end in Light for Rights type actions outside Finance Ministries where beams of torchlight shine on buildings where under spending on HIV and health cost thousands of lives.
It’s time to use our imaginations and let everyone know Getting to Zero is a must."
The global HIV response is at a pivotal moment, where huge strides forward are at serious risk and current approaches are reaching their limits. Only one third of the 15 million people living with HIV in need of life long treatment are receiving it. New infections continue to outpace the number of people starting treatment, while the upward trend in resources suffered a serious downturn this year.
"Zero New HIV Infections" and "Zero Discrimination" are equally as likely to spark high impact events from small scale community vigils to nation wide events using the universally recognised shape of zeros and the power of light to get life and death issues the attention they deserve.
For December 1st 2011 right up until 2015 it’s envisioned that different regions and groups will each year chose one or all of the Zeros that best addresses their situation.
The decision to go with the millennium development related goal of "Getting to Zero" comes after extensive discussions among people living with HIV, health activists, broader civil society and many others – more than a hundred organisations in all.
The vision for this year’s World AIDS Day and beyond may be aspirational but the journey towards its attainment is laid with concrete milestones.
10 goals for 2015.
Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people,men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work;
Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half;
All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.
Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment;
TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;
All people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support.
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