South Sudan joins the rest of the World to mark World AIDS Day
06 December 2023
World AIDS Day is a global movement to unite people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The United Nations in South Sudan in partnership with the South Sudan AIDS Commission organized an event to commemorate the World AIDS Day in Nyakuron Cultural center Juba. The commemoration occasion anchored on the theme of “Let communities lead” attracted people from various backgrounds including school children, women, and men in uniform among others. HE Hussein AbdelBagi, the VP, attended as Chief Guest of Honor while UN Resident Coordinator a.i. represented the UN.
The theme celebrates the role that communities play in the HIV response across the world and in the country. Communities of people living with HIV or at risk of HIV are the unsung heroes in the fight against AIDS. They are the drivers of progress, connecting people to health services, building trust, innovating, and holding service providers accountable.
In his keynote speech, the Vice President- service cluster H.E Hussein Abdelbagi reiterated the government’s commitment to continue providing an enabling environment for the civil society organizations, network of people living with HIV and communities to play their respective roles in the fight against HIV through the close collaboration with South Sudan HIV and AIDS Commission.
“We aspire for the inclusiveness and leaving no one behind in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and this is what I have witnessed during this celebration” he said.
The Director of South Sudan Network of People Living with HIV (SSNeP+) noted that the day’s celebration offers an opportunity for people to reflect on the successes gained and impact of the virus, calling to action all stakeholders to support communities in the fight to wipe out HIV. “
The colorful event included a procession by school children, men and women in uniform, cultural and drama performances, and a candle-lighting ceremony. Messaging from the music and performances portrayed an urgent reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma, an opportunity to honor those we have lost, and a rallying cry to commit to working toward a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat.
Representing the UN Resident Coordinator ai at the event, the Acting Country Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Mahboob Aminur Rahman informed the gathering that since 2010, the country has managed to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 35% and AIDS-related deaths by 42%, however the progress is slow compared to other countries in the region.
“Let us recommit ourselves to the goal of ending AIDS in South Sudan. Let us embrace the Global vision of a world where AIDS is no longer a threat. It is through the unity and determination of our communities, alongside the collaborative efforts and support of the government and development partners that we can make this vision a reality” He noted.
World AIDS Day is a global movement to unite people in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Since 1988, communities have stood together on World AIDS Day to show strength and solidarity against HIV stigma and to remember lives lost.