For close to three decades every December 1st, people around the world come together to observe World AIDS Day and pay their respects to the millions of people who have lost their lives to the epidemic.
Since it first started in 1988, World AIDS Day has helped raise awareness about the impact HIV and AIDS is having on communities around the world, and also offers an important moment to show support for people living with HIV. It has also helped amplify the voices of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Dignitas International (DI), which has been working to strengthen Malawi’s health system against HIV and AIDS since 2004, participated in the national event.
DI staff from the medical and communication departments, and two members of DI’s Adolescent Program attended the event in Dedza.
This year’s World AIDS Day theme is Hands Up for HIV Prevention, which is also being supported by a UNAIDS campaign of the same name.
The campaign is asking people to put their hands up for HIV prevention as a symbolic gesture to show the continued importance of improving prevention strategies.
According to UNAIDS 2016 Prevention Gap Report, an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for the past five years – and the number of new HIV infections is rising in some countries. The report also says efforts to reach fewer than 500,000 new HIV infections by 2020 are off track and must therefore be intensified if we are to stop the pandemic by 2030.
In support of this campaign and World AIDS Day, members of the DI family at Zomba Office inscribed message on their hands messages to inform, advise and promote the importance of a strong response to the AIDS epidemic.