The National AIDS Commission (NAC) in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and partners has released activities leading to the commemoration of World AIDS Day 2023 in Liberia.
Liberia will join the rest of the world on December 1, 2023 to commemorate World AIDS Day, a day set aside by the world body to raise awareness about the HIV and AIDS pandemic; provide a platform to reflect on achievements made in the national HIV response, and to embrace solidarity with persons living with HIV and those who have died of AIDS related complications.
According to a National AIDS Commission release, series of activities are being implemented until December 1, 2023 under the Global Theme: “Let Communities Lead, and a National Theme: “Communities Lead with Equality and Diversity”.
Armed Forces of Liberia Assistant Chief of Staff for Health Services, Ltc. Joseph B.N. Kowo has been chosen as this year’s World AIDS Day orator in Liberia.
According to the release, different activities including mass media campaign, community outreach, quizzing competition, roundtable discussion and health fair with funding agencies and implementing partners, football tournament on HIV-related stigma and discrimination, town hall meetings in Buchanan and Grand Bassa Counties on addressing HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination, Health Fair with PEPFAR Interagency Partners at the United States Embassy are being implemented since November 2023, followed by an indoor program on December 1, 2023 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
The release notes that these activities will provide a platform for the AIDS Commission to educate the public about dangers HIV poses to the country, and the need for them to know their HIV status.
The release furthered that the HIV mobile testing will also allow the team to visit various beaches during the November 29 festivity to enable Liberians especially young people to know their status to be in a better position to improve their health.
The release quotes organizers of the World AIDS Day program as saying, these activities will be climaxed with an indoor program on Friday, December 1, 2020 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, where local and international partners will gather to reflect on gains made over the years in mitigating the impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the country.
According to the UNAIDS 2022 Spectrum estimates, more than 34, 000 persons are living with HIV in Liberia. Montserrado, Margibi, and Grand Bassa counties continue to have the highest HIV prevalence among the 15 counties, accounting for about 70% of the HIV burden.
The AIDS Commission said it will join partners during the commemoration of the day to showcase progress being made in the country’s National HIV and AIDS response and highlight challenges that require redress by policymakers and key stakeholders in ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030.
Liberia and the rest of the world are implementing a strategy in ensuring that by 2030, 95% of persons living with HIV will know their status, 95% of those tested positive will get on treat treatment and 95% of Persons living with HIV on treatment will have a suppressed viral load.
First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day has be a unique gathering where governments and officials from all sectors in their respective countries have committed themselves to observing the day with speeches, forums, community awareness and media campaign on global and national themes aimed at reaffirming their commitments.