The United Nation’s (UN) has renewed the call to end HIV/AIDS, focusing on the theme ‘My Health, My Right’ on this year’s World AIDS Day. The day is marked every year on 1 December to remember those that have been affected by HIV/AIDS, and recommit to efforts to prevent and treat it.
This year, the St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre in Hong Kong marked the day with various events to raise awareness and build momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
A one hour radio slot broadcast a special church service across Hong Kong (pictured below), and charitable music night was held to showcase ‘inspiring lives’. A short film contest was also held throughout the year for Hong Kong and Macau Youth.
The St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre was the first (and is so far the only) faith-based organisation to undertake the AIDS ministry in Hong Kong. Through targeted prevention and educational programmes, the Centre aims to limit the spread of HIV in Hong Kong and to promote acceptance and to reduce stigma attached to HIV/AIDS.
This year’s UN campaign, ‘My Health, My Right’, focused on the universal right to health and the challenges that people around the world can face in exercising their rights.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said, “All people, regardless of their age, gender, where they live or who they love, have the right to health. No matter what their health needs are, everyone requires health solutions that are available and accessible, free from discrimination and of good quality.”
Our health underpins our capacity to do almost anything else. Therefore our right to health is paramount. If a person’s access to healthcare, adequate sanitation, healthy working conditions and a clean environment, for example, are compromised, then their ability to prevent or treat disease is compromised.
The UNAIDS campaign pointed out that “most of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked in some way to health. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health for all.”
Revd Rachel Carnegie, Anglican Alliance Co-Executive Director , said: “The Anglican Communion has given strong leadership over the years to end the suffering of HIV/AIDS. It is deeply inspiring to see the latest activities in Hong Kong, where St John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre continues its superb work in educating on HIV and tackling stigma. Its commitment over the years is a wonderful example of faithfulness. The suffering of HIV/AIDS is still with us but with continued combined efforts it could be over. We cannot afford to lose focus now when so much has already been achieved – yet lives are still blighted.”