EL FASHER (DARFUR), December 5, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- With the lighting of candles, marches, cultural and traditional dances and drama, the African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) commemorated World AIDS Day throughout Darfur with events held over the past several days.
The day, under the theme "Getting to Zero," called for building on recent global successes and pressing ahead to get to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015.
In ceremonies held in several Darfur towns, UNAMID officials read the UN Secretary-General's message, which stated "On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history."
The World AIDS Day Report for 2012, the Secretary-General noted, reveals significant progress in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the past two years.
"I also urge stronger efforts to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that increase risk for vulnerable populations. We must make information, testing and treatment available to all, so every man, woman and child can enjoy their fundamental right to the medical care and essential services that will end this devastating epidemic," the UNSG said in his message.
UNAMID is mandated to provide HIV prevention services to the Mission's personnel and to the population in Darfur. Also, UNAMID works to strengthen the capacity of the Sudan National AIDS Program and other AIDS support organizations to better respond to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Darfur.
Since 1988, World AIDS Day is observed annually on 1 December all over the world to unite efforts to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV/AIDS and to remember those who have lost their lives.
Source: United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)