World AIDS Day 2016: Hands up for #HIVPrevention!

Hands up for HIV prevention in the Philippines

In the run-up to World AIDS Day 2016, GIZ and KfW colleagues from around the world raised their hands to make the UNAIDS photo campaign Hands up for #HIVPrevention a success. Their short and bold statements set out priorities for HIV prevention, aiming to end AIDS by 2030.

Take a look at the World AIDS Day photo gallery!

GIZ and KfW colleagues state their prevention priorities

Hands up for HIV prevention in Ukraine

It all started in October, with a single message written on one person’s hand: “Know your status”. Two months later, thousands of people had followed the call from UNAIDS to raise their hands and share photos expressing what HIV prevention means to them. Messages from all around the world included “use condoms always”, “provide support”, “end stigma”, “invest”, “PrEP”, “no violence”, “gender equality” and many more.

Amongst GIZ- and KfW health experts, the photo campaign did not go unnoticed: Over hundred colleagues from different countries and programmes around the world sent in photos with their personal prevention messages. At GIZ head office in Bonn, many colleagues stopped at the campaign stall, set up at the cafeteria during lunch time, where badges, pins, condoms and leaflets were on display and where everyone could have a picture taken of his or her own ‘manual HIV prevention statements’. The results are inspiring (see link to photo gallery at the top of this article).

Over 2 million people were reached

According to UNAIDS, the campaign reached more than 2 million people on Facebook and 64 000 people actively engaged with it, posting photos, likes, shares and comments. Several first ladies decided to join the campaign and raise their hands, amongst them the First Lady of Benin, Claudine Talon, the First Lady of China, Peng Liyuan, the First Lady of Guinea-Bissau, Hadja Djene Kaba Condé, the First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo de Varella, and the First Lady of South Africa, Tobeka Madiba Zuma.

It is high time to close the prevention gap

The UNAIDS prevention gap report, launched earlier this year, showed that the global decline in new HIV infections among adults has stalled. Every year for the past five years, an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV and in some regions of the world HIV infections are again on the rise. To halt and reverse this trend, UNAIDS proposes a life-cycle approach to HIV prevention, addressing the specific risks and vulnerabilities facing different age groups. Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, is particularly concerned about what he describes as young women’s ‘triple vulnerability’: “They are at high risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment. “The world is failing young women and we urgently need to do more.”

Kobel, Kohlbrenner, Watermann

Let' stay on track

GIZ and KfW colleagues who work in the field of HIV could not agree more. Verena Kohlbrenner, Wiebke Kobel and Kaya Watermann, for example, who organized the GIZ contribution to UNAIDS’ World AIDS Day Campaign, are glad that so many colleagues responded to their call. But they are also aware that efforts must continue: “World AIDS Day has gone by, but the HIV epidemic hasn’t.”

Over the past 20 years German Development Cooperation has successfully supported HIV prevention projects in Southern and Western Africa, in AsiaEastern Europe and in the Caribbean, amongst others. As 2016 is drawing to a close, it is committed to continuing its support: AIDS is not over yet but if we stay on track one day it will be.

December 2016

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