For the last twenty eight years, December 1 has been dubbed World AIDS Day with the objective to remind citizens of the impacts of HIV/AIDS and the importance of preventative measures. It is a global initiative and in Belize, the Ministry of Health partnered with several agencies to commemorate the day with a mobile testing site in downtown Belize City. Arthur Usher who works with the National AIDS Commission as the Communications Representative explained their presence out at Battlefield Park today.
“Today is a joint activity with the Ministry of Health and The National AIDS commission. Basically what happened here today was a testing site, so we did tests as per schedule and we also tied it in with the World AIDS day theme which is “Hands up for HIV prevention” and so the National AIDS commission and the Ministry of Health teamed up to do this event today and our focus is always to get people on track with testing in order to meet our national and regional international goals which is to have 90% of those who are living with HIV be tested and those who are tested to be on ARVs and 90% of those tested have a viral load suppression.”
‘Hands Up for HIV Prevention’ is the theme for World AIDS Day 2016. The National AIDS Commission took that theme and gave persons an outlet to say just how they feel about the virus.
“It’s an activity global push and the concept is simple. UN AIDS commission hand in hand we are asking the general public to put their hands up and write a short message or phrase that they think can best articulate what they think should be done in terms of HIV prevention. So if you think there should be more condom usage then you write that on your hand and you take a picture of it and you post it up on the Facebook pages or you could do a video and post it on the Facebook page and just to give awareness of the actual activity. So today we took that another step further, we also did the hands up with the Ministers and we did do a video that is on the Facebook but we also designed a hand that the general public can come and write on that is also a part of our campaign to get the message out there.”
According to an online document, the statistics dated back to three years ago, have shown that more than thirty six million people worldwide have died from the virus in the period, 1981–2012 while an estimated thirty five million persons are living with HIV globally.