This year’s programme to commemorate the World AIDS Day will take place in Cape Coast on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
A statement signed by Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas, explained that although the day will be marked globally on December 01, 2012, it has been brought forward because of the December 07 general election.
“We are celebrating this year’s World AIDS Day on 27th November in Ghana in order to enable all stakeholders and partners focus on the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections”, the statement noted.
The global event is being held under the theme “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, Zero AIDS-related deaths, Zero discrimination’’, but according to Dr. El-Adas, after widespread stakeholder consultation, Ghana has chosen the sub-theme “Accelerating to ‘Zero’ Together”.
“This sub-theme reflects the importance of enhanced collaboration and partnership to consolidate the gains made over the years. It calls for a deliberate intensification of our collective political will and harmonization of efforts as we strive to achieve results”, Dr. El-Adas explained.
She added that the UNAIDS has given individual countries the freedom to augment the global theme with their priorities to ensure country and community ownership.
The 2012 World AIDS Day event also coincides with the Ghana AIDS Commission’s 10th anniversary celebration. The anniversary year started with the historic state visit of the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe to Ghana in February, and the organisation of the first ever HIV&AIDS exhibition which brought together over one hundred HIV related service providers and campaigners, religious associations and suppliers of HIV prevention products under one roof for a week’s interaction.
According to the Commission, the launch of an innovative ‘Heart to Heart’ anti-stigma Campaign last year has taken the fight against HIV & AIDS in Ghana to a new level. One of the side attractions to this year’s event is the arrival of the ‘Heart to Heart’ Caravan which has been touring the country with three HIV & AIDS Ambassadors since its launch on November 06 to intensify direct engagement of the Ambassadors - all persons living with HIV - with local and community actors in various districts across the ten regions.
The Director General observed that, “the expectation is that, through this behavioural change activity, support for the campaign will be sustained towards the elimination of stigma and discrimination. Additionally, information will be shared on available services including prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, testing and counseling, partner reduction and faithfulness, correct and consistent use of condoms, among others.”
The statement noted that President John Dramani Mahama who is also the Chairman of the Ghana AIDS Commission is the Special Guest at this year’s World AIDS Day event and will deliver the keynote.