World AIDS Day rally urges “Keep the Promise”
Source: Guyana Chronicle, 2nd December, 2005

AS Guyana continues to work strenuously to fight against HIV/AIDS, the World AIDS Day Rally yesterday was held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch Avenue.

Organisations including the Guyana Red Cross Society, Public Health Strengthening Project in Guyana (CSIH), the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and representatives of the Guyana Prison Service and Ministry of Home Affairs were on hand to showcase their objectives and distribute pamphlets, posters and other information.

“Keep the Promise”, incorporated in this year’s World AIDS Day theme, is an appeal to governments and policy makers to ensure they meet the targets they have agreed to in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Some of these promises are contained in the UNGASS Declaration and by the 3 by 5 Initiative:

The UNGASS Declaration of Committee was signed by all 189 members of the UN in June 2001. The governments of these countries committed themselves to take action on HIV/AIDS in the fields of leadership, prevention, care and support, treatment, reducing vulnerability and human rights.

Targets set for the end of 2005 are to reduce HIV prevalence by 25% among men and women aged 15-24 in the most affected countries; ensure that at least 90% of young people, aged 15-24, have access to the information, education and services necessary to develop the life skills required to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection; reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20% by increasing access to services which prevent mother to child transmission; and increase annual spending on HIV/AIDS to 7 – 10 billion in low and middle-income countries and those countries experiencing at rapid expansion of HIV epidemics.

Head of the National AIDS Secretariat in Guyana, Ms Shantte Singh, said the campaign is a means of awakening those who have made promises to ensure that they are kept. At the rally, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Mr. Harripersaud Nokta, said he is delighted to see so many young people there. He said he understood that the event will be beneficial to them in the future, as they were exposed to a greater knowledge about the disease and other infections. He spoke of the need for similar activities in other regions.