The theme for World AIDS Day 2009 is 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care, recognising these as fundamental human rights. Valuable progress has been made in increasing access to HIV and AIDS services, yet greater commitment is needed around the world if the goal of universal access is to be achieved. Millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year. In low- and middle-income countries, less than half of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are receiving it, and too many do not have access to adequate care services.
The protection of human rights is fundamental to combating the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV, putting marginalised groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers, at a higher risk of HIV infection. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.
World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us - individuals, communities and political leaders - to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.
Here is what is happening locally. This is from LGBTieS' (ETSU's Gay-Straight Alliance) President, Evan Baker:
"Well, it is finally here! World AIDS Day 2009. Please offer your support in any way possible. Events start with free Candy AND Condoms in the Culp Center tomorrow from 11am-1pm. There will also be a bake-sale fundraiser, with proceeds going to the HIV Network.
Also, tomorrow night is the Candlelight, Prayer, and Reflection Service, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 East Market Street, Johnson City, TN 37605 (down the hill past the Johnson City Public Library, over both sets of railroad tracks). Please come out in remembrance of those no longer with us because of this disease, and also in support of those still fighting the fight. There will be a reception to follow.
Wednesday there will be free HIV testing in the Culp Center, from 11am-3pm. This is open to anyone interested in getting tested, so feel free to pass the word along. At 6pm, there will be a film showing of “A Closer Walk,” which is also free, and open to anyone. If you are interested in attending the film showing, or any other of the events, feel free to bring non-perishable food items, which will go to Ryan White recipients."