World AIDS Day 2011 marks three decades since the discovery of the first AIDS case, in 1981. Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament want to raise awareness and to commemorate all people whose lives have been affected by the pandemic.
Ahead toaday’s on the EU’s global response to HIV/AIDS, S&D spokesperson on the issue Nessa Childers said:
“HIV/AIDS is still a major public health concern. MEPs are calling for stronger action to reduce new infections, over 25,000 of which were recorded in 2009.
“An estimated 30% of people with HIV/AIDS are unaware that they carry the virus.
“We need to increase HIV testing amongst at-risk groups such as young people, homosexual men, injecting drug users, sex workers and prisoners. We also are calling for more action to tackle stigma and discrimination. People living with HIV/AIDS should be included in all equality and anti-discriminatory legislation.
“The EU should also provide a policy framework to encourage national governments to address the issue of HIV/AIDS in the context of sexual health strategies. We need closer links between HIV/AIDS care and sexual health care to reduce unsafe sexual behaviour and reduce sexually transmitted infections.”
Euro MP Michael Cashman, who is organising a wide distribution of red ribbons, international symbol of HIV awareness, said:
“HIV/AIDS affects everyone; it does not discriminate, and it does not back down, and neither should we. We need to move on with our fight keeping in mind that that which happens to them, happen to us.”
“Behind all the statistics, which speak for themselves, imagine there is one life affected by the reality of living with HIV/AIDS. Think of the lost generations, lost lives, lost lovers, lost parents, lost brothers and sisters, lives often lost by the loss of others. Think of the waste. The waste of life. So pick up your red ribbon, wear it and remember!”