In observance of World AIDS Day 2017, under the theme – Right to Health - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) collaborated with government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to host three (3) activities: the annual Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, the annual dramatic production – Flame and the Ribbon, and a Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV. These activities were held on November 25, December 1, and December 5 respectively.
The Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, held at Durban Park, was a collaboration with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) and the Ministry of Public Health. During his remarks Dr. Martin Odiit, UNAIDS Country Director, called for the universal use by the population of the free HIV prevention and treatment services provided by the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The activity saw participation from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, United Nations staff, civil society, the private sector, and the general public.
In partnership with Artistes In Direct Support (A.I.D.S), the Flame and the Ribbon production was held at the National Cultural Centre. In keeping with the World AIDS Day theme the play addressed HIV prevention, safer sexual practices, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Mother to Child Transmission, domestic violence, cancer, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and maintaining a healthy body. In her remarks, Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, committed to providing quality health services to the population. Dr. Odiit emphasized the importance of the population exercising their right to health. The play was preceded a candle lighting ceremony in memory of those who died from or are living with HIV/AIDS. During the event special awards were presented to outstanding individuals and organizations; UNAIDS was the recipient of an award for its support and commitment to the hosting of the production over the years. The production celebrated the 25th anniversary of A.I.D.S.
A Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV was hosted by the Guyana Community of Positive Women and Girls (GCWAG), in collaboration with the Ministries of Social Protection and Public Health, and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat. This activity was held to observe World AIDS Day and the 16 days of activism against violence against women. In his remarks Dr. Odiit underscored the relationship between HIV and Gender Based Violence (GBV). During the sessions GCWAG members presented the challenges they have faced with GBV. Presentations and practical information were shared by several stakeholders’ representatives including the Deputy Director of Social Services, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the NAPS Programme Manager and the UNESCO Secretary General. It was agreed that more information on the services available for addressing violence against women need to be disseminated regularly and widely. The event saw participation by representatives from the Government, the United Nations, Advancing Partners & Community, civil society, Persons Living with HIV, NGOs, and the media.