In an effort to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia is challenging Liberians and partners to reawaken and join in the spirit of oneness in responding to the HIV and AIDS situation in the country
Speaking at an indoor program marking the official observance of World AIDS Day in Buchanan, Grand Bassa on December 1, Mrs. Juanita Ramirez, National AIDS Commission's Commissioner for Partnership, said as countries around the world collaborate in ensuring the end of AIDS by 2030, it is imperative that partners in the national response to HIV and AID refrain from politicizing the response and work together so that the country can be on par in achieving the global target. Commissioner Ramirez, who spoke on behalf of the Commission during the indoor program, Commissioner Ramirez urged Liberians to collectively confront and overcome the impact of Ebola on the country’s HIV response by fast tracking collaborative efforts. She noted that owing to the grave impact that the Ebola Virus Disease had on the country’s response to HIV, an occasion like World AIDS Day should be used as an opportunity to refocus on HIV and identify strategies by which partners can bring the HIV epidemic to an end by 2030.
Commission Ramirez emphasized that the term “Fast Track” means to move faster. To this end, she called for increase in the number of counseling and testing sites; treatment sites and elimination of mother to child transmission (Emtct). She also asked that programs focus their effort on women, girls, youth and other vulnerable groups through the development of a comprehensive national HIV prevention strategy. If these are done, the NAC official pointed out, the country will be well on course to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
In remarks, UNAIDS Country Director Dr. Betru Tekle Wooldesemayat, called on the government and all well meaning Liberians to collaborate in order to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Dr. Woldesemayat stated that a unified front is indispensable to ending AIDS epidemic by 2030. Without togetherness, he continued, the world cannot defeat HIV and AIDS, noting that if Liberia must meet her share of global targets of ending AIDS, collaboration must be the hallmark. Collaboration, he mentioned, comes in many forms and at many different levels, including technical, financial and information.
World AIDS Day was observed this year under the global theme: Fast Track – Ending the AIDS Epidemic by 2030” and the national theme: “Liberia Fast Tracking: Liberia Fast Tracking: Scale up Treatment; Know Your Status; Use Condoms and End Stigma and Discrimination”. The program brought together hundreds of people in Grand Bassa including people living with HIV and other national and international partners.