Canadian Anglicans will join the rest of the world in commemorating World AIDS Day with prayer services and vigils on Dec. 1.
To express solidarity, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is urging dioceses and parishes to use the resources produced for its Partnership for Life: For a Generation without AIDS campaign. PWRDF is aiming to raise $1 million for the campaign by December 2006.
The resource kit contains among other things order information for PWRDF’s new AIDS bracelets that sell for $5, with $4 going directly to support the work of PWRDF’s partners.
Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, education and fighting prejudice. AIDS Day reminds people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
Canadians have tried to make a difference. In June, Bishop Rod Andrews of Saskatoon drove a 1952 John Deere Model R tractor 1,500 kilometres across Saskatchewan to raise awareness and funds. Bishop Andrews and his support staff raised $41,000, with proceeds going towards three PWRDF initiatives including combating HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In Mozambique, PWRDF partner, SALAMA runs an HIV/AIDS education and information awareness program, with resource people conducting information sessions on a train running from the port of Nacala in Mozambique to the border with Malawi. They reach out to hundreds of people on just one trip.
Recent UNAIDS statistics show that there are 38 million adults and 2.3 million children living with HIV today. About 95 per cent of afflicted people live in developing nations.
The theme for this year’s AIDS Day — Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise — is a direct 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 the most important of these promises are contained in the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration and the 3 by 5 Initiative.
All 189 members of the UN signed the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment in June 2001, committing themselves to taking action on HIV and AIDS in the fields of leadership, prevention, care and support, treatment, reducing vulnerability, and human rights.
The 3 by 5 initiative launched by WHO and UNAIDS in 2003 is meant to provide access to antiretroviral treatment to 3 million people living with HIV in developing and transitional countries by the end of 2005.
UNAIDS estimates that in the past year, 4.9 million people became newly infected with the virus.
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