Education International
Education International

World AIDS Day: Educate for zero new HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS-related deaths

published 30 November 2012 updated 3 December 2012

On the occasion of World AIDS Day (WAD) on 1 December, education unionists worldwide renew their commitment to ‘getting to zero’: Zero new HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS-related deaths.

The UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report for 2012 reveals significant progress in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the past two years. The number of people accessing life-saving treatment rose by 60 per cent and new infections have fallen by half in 25 countries — 13 of them in sub-Saharan Africa.  AIDS-related deaths have dropped by a quarter since 2005.

“It is essential to eliminate the stigma and discrimination that increase risk for vulnerable populations,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his message on WAD. “Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015 are achievable. On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history.”

The number of people who are newly infected continues to fall across the world. The number of adults and children acquiring HIV infection in 2011 stands a full 20 per cent lower than in 2001.

EI: Educators’ crucial role

“EI welcomes this year of getting to zero new HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS-related deaths,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “As educators, and part of the civil society, we can be proud that we contributed to the successes achieved.

“We still have a crucial role to play in educating our students and training colleagues about HIV/AIDS-related issues, via health education and school health. We must continue to take the lead and coordinate activities to ensure the continuation and the expansion of HIV/AIDS-prevention projects.”

EI is calling on its affiliates, in particular those in the wealthiest and industrialised countries, to demand that national and regional authorities continue to implement HIV/AIDS-prevention programmes. “Let’s halt and begin to reverse the epidemic by 2015,” van Leeuwen stressed.