UNMIK raises money for women’s shelter as part of World AIDS Day activities
1 December marks World AIDS Day.
Since 1981, World AIDS Day has provided an opportunity for individuals to come together to fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, to show support for those living with HIV/AIDS, to celebrate victories in overcoming the spread of HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those who have lost their lives from HIV/AIDS.
“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV in Kosovo and around the world,” says Sarah Haile Giorgis, UNMIK HIV Focal Point.
As part of this year’s activities UNMIK is running a campaign publicizing this year’s theme: “’Getting to Zero’: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.” The mission is also raising money for a local women’s shelter.
Women remain the most affected by HIV/AIDS. Although, overall rates of new infections of HIV/AIDS have dropped, the number of women living with HIV/AIDS remains stable at 60%.
“This is why we chose to focus on raising money for a women’s shelter, to draw attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and contribute to prevention through women and girl capacity building and empowerment. We are encouraging women to speak up and become involved in their sexual health,” says Haile Giorgis
Gender inequality, sexual violence, and discrimination are the greatest obstacles women must overcome in order to exercise authority over their sexual health.
“These injustices discourage or make it impossible for women to seek information on HIV and services that will protect them from HIV infection, from adopting safe behavior and from accessing HIV treatment and care,” states Haile Giorgis.
In Kosovo, there are around 40 people living with HIV and receiving antiretroviral treatment, but there are likely many more living with the disease unknowingly or knowingly.
Globally women are less likely to seek treatment than men as they likely have limited access to health care due to a lack of education or transportation, they fear violence in the home, they have responsibilities such as childcare, they have minimal access to financial resources, if at all, and they are afraid of social stigma.
Currently, there are approximately 33.3 million people in the world living with HIV, according to the World AIDS Campaign.
Today, World AIDS Day and all days let’s try and get to zero! Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths!