On the occasion of this 2014 World AIDS Day, I would like to acknowledge that there are so many of our brothers and sisters in the Indian Ocean who have unfortunately left us because of AIDS, an epidemic that does not have any frontier. In their memory let us have a minute of silence…………..…
The rise of the epidemic in the Indian Ocean is a reason for great concern. Statistics shows that there is a continuous rise of prevalence of HIV in risk populations and they are often the most marginalized ones.
This year’s slogan is “Close the Gap”…let us truly reflect on our young and productive people who are being infected, those who are denied their rights to health care and safety and the needs of the key affected populations.
Sensitization, prevention and the best care possible – are we truly delivering?
Data – are they still relevant? are we sharing it in Indian Ocean?
Our policy environment – is it conducive?
Our methods – are they appropriate and commendable?
Stigma and discrimination remain a big threat in the Indian Ocean and often they are more unbearable than the disease itself. People are not coming forward to do their HIV test mainly because they live in fear of being stigmatized and discriminated if they are tested positive.
We must take leadership in this fight if we want to achieve the target to free the world of HIV by 2030. Leadership calls upon us all to articulate and work for this vision. The realities of the drivers of the epidemic are leading us, willingly or unwillingly.
For and on behalf of Ravane Ocean Indien, I would like to call on the Government and stakeholders of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion, Rodrigues and Seychelles,
- let us partner by joining forces in solidarity to fight against HIV-AIDS
- let us stay focus and commit ourselves to save lives
- let us leave no-one behind
- let us all be engaged and have one voice and one vision
Indian Ocean – it can be the very first region to eliminate AIDS? Let’s make it happen …together
Nothing for us…without us!