HEALTH officials and stakeholders in Gizo, Western Province has joined the world celebrating World AIDS day.
The event kicked off with a parade led by a long line of cars from PT109 to MSG building where the official programme unfolded.
The theme of 2022 World AIDS Day is “End inequalities end AIDS” – a renewed mission to respect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The highlight of the day was a testimony from a brave patient living with HIV/AIDS (name withheld) taking a stand to educate people on the stigma and trauma HIV/AIDS patients go through in their lives.
In her speech, Youths Desk Officer of Western Province, Trina Paroi reemphasised the importance of recognising and addressing inequalities which continue to hold back efforts to end discrimination against patients with HIV/AIDS.
She also reinforced the importance of providing equal access to essential HIV services, particularly on the young population
Paroi said progress towards HIV goals have been stalled, resources have shrunk and numerous lives are at risk – a situation that needs urgent response.
She adds that disparity and inequality of access to health services and HIV services and disregard for human rights are among the failures that allow HIV to become and remain a global health crisis.
“However, I’m encouraged by the universal understanding that solidarity, unity, compassion and hope forms the basis of fair and equal ingredient to address the issue.
“The system is finally working for us, but it is still failing those who are marginalized, our young people, our children and those with disabilities.
“It is everyone’s right to access health, be informed and treated with respect and dignity.
“We have to fight stigma, discrimination and guarantee the rights of our marginalised groups.
“We need to invest more in testing, treatment and care at the same time empower our youths,” Paroi said.