MINURCAT Celebrates World AIDS Day 2009
As the rest of the world, MINURCAT also celebrated World AIDS Day last week. The ceremony to launch the activities of the day took place in Abeche, the capital of eastern Chad, on 3 December 2009.
World AIDS Day is organized each year to further reiterate the commitment of governments and donors around the world to the global fight against the epidemic. More than 200 people from UN agencies, national and international NGOs as well as MINURCAT took part in the celebration.
Four major activities were planned for the day, including the delivery of the UN Secretary-General's message, the screening of a video titled "Living in a World with HIV/AIDS", a demonstration on the use of condoms, and a free AIDS test session for UN personnel.
The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Chad read the Secretary-General's message, stressing the need to protect and respect the rights of people living with AIDS. The representative of UNHCR also present at the ceremony said his agency was playing an active role in the fight against HIV/AIDS in refugee camps, adding that he appreciated the partnership between UN agencies and MINURCAT.
According to UNAIDS, there are encouraging signs in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For example, the following have been observed: a leveling of the global prevalence of HIV/AIDS; a decrease in HIV/AIDS prevalence in some countries; a decrease in the number of deaths related to the pandemic; and a decrease in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS contracted in the world every year.
Despite these positive results, the need to remain vigilant in the fight against the pandemic cannot be stressed enough, as the statistics on the number of infection cases and related deaths each year are simply daunting. For example, there are over 60 million cases of AIDS infection in the world today, a result of 4.8 million cases of new infections each year, which translates into 14,000 cases every day or 10 new infections every 10 minutes. The consequence of all this is the high number of deaths, which amounts to 8,500 per day or 6 deaths every minute. Since the beginning of the pandemic in the 1980s, about 25 million people have died.
The activities continued with sensitization sessions, where more than 300 university and high school students in Abeche participated.