To mark World AIDS Day in Myanmar, the HIV/TB Agency, Information, and Services (AIS) Activity supported a campaign to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, and recognize the essential role that communities play in HIV/AIDS response. A diverse group of stakeholders, including ten HIV partners, actively participated in the AIS Activity’s World AIDS Day campaign.
“We advocate for an effective HIV/AIDS response and show support for those living with HIV."
World AIDS Day, observed annually on December 1, is a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, supporting individuals living with HIV, and commemorating those lost to the disease. This year's theme, "Let Communities Lead," highlights the significance of community-driven initiatives in addressing HIV/AIDS.
In Yangon, Myanmar’s most populous city, volunteer teams distributed boxes of condoms bearing the World AIDS Day theme and branding, HIV self-testing kits, information pamphlets, and World AIDS Day-themed T-shirts. The volunteers, who are living with HIV themselves, shared key messages about HIV/ AIDS and prevention methods. These activities helped foster awareness about HIV and AIDS within the local communities.
“Celebrating World AIDS Day is a good opportunity for us, the peer community, to spread the message far and wide and extend care for HIV/ AIDS,” commented one volunteer. “We advocate for an effective HIV/AIDS response and show support for those living with HIV. Communities play a pivotal role in HIV control. They are crucial in successfully preventing and treating HIV,” he continued. “Our activities help to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and promote preventive measures among key populations. I am thrilled to take part in the World AIDS Day campaign and promote HIV awareness.”
During the campaign, participants wore red ribbons - a universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV - to foster empathy and challenge the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
“This is not just for one day; it is an ongoing initiative. Together, we can make a difference."
Young people were also actively engaged in the AIS-sponsored World AIDS Day events in Myitkyina, Kachin State. Through health talks, awareness-raising quizzes, demonstrations, social games and the distribution of HIV information leaflets, young people gained insight about HIV/AIDS.
“It was a remarkable experience being part of the World AIDS Day campaign,” revealed Dr. Pyae Pyae Phyo, program manager of the AIS Activity. “We showed our solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS and contributed to the elimination of stigma. This not just for one day; it is an ongoing initiative. Together, we can make a difference."
The AIS Activity’s campaign activities on World AIDS Day are not merely symbolic; AIS actively promotes awareness of HIV/AIDS and draws attention to the efforts of communities in preventing and treating HIV, and ultimately working towards a world without AIDS. The AIS Activity innovates to scale up HIV services and reach 95-95-95 prevention, testing, and treatment objectives. Despite the challenges created by Myanmar’s political instability, the AIS Activity continues to provide lifesaving HIV- and TB services for key populations at higher risk of HIV infection, with the generous support of PEPFAR and the Global Accelerator to End TB through USAID.