Thursday, March 8, 2012

Archbishop’s video message for World AIDS Day 2010

In his message for 2010 World AIDS Day, the Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates the good news that can be found in examples of local responses to HIV and the impact of global action reflected in the latest statistics. Having witnessed at first hand the work being done at a local level with his visits this year to the Mildmay Hospital in Uganda and the Arunima Hospice in India, Dr Williams said:

“People are learning how to live with HIV, they’re learning about its transmission. They’re learning to see it as something they can understand, and therefore something they can make sense of, and live with positively.”

Dr Williams also praises those living with HIV who have dedicated their lives to helping others – working to overcome the fear and stigma and demonstrating how, with access to treatment, people can live well with HIV. The Archbishop also reminds us that although there may be much to celebrate this year, there is still a good deal of work to be done to protect the very vulnerable, and in particular, women and children:

“They’re still particularly vulnerable in contexts where the understanding of the transmission of HIV is still developing. And so long as that vulnerability is there, we mustn’t relax our own vigilance, our own understanding and care for the situation.”

Finally he urges us to remain focused on this issue, despite the temptation to let it fall from our priorities during this time of global financial upheaval, saying:

“…as we give thanks for what’s been achieved, it’s all the more important that we renew our commitment, that we don’t let this slip down the list of our priorities, that we remember that the future of millions of the world's children lies in our hands in cooperating with those who help and serve them who enable them to grow up and be citizens, human beings, people who truly live.”

According to UNAIDS' 2010 Global Report, at the end of 2009 there were an estimated 33.3 million people living with HIV, 2.6 million were newly infected and 1.8 million died from AIDS-related causes. The estimated figures for new infections and deaths are nearly 20% lower than those estimated in 1999. However, rates of infection outpace access to treatment by 2 to 1. 10 million people are still waiting for treatment. UNAIDS notes that, while the number of children born with HIV has decreased by 24% over the past five years, 370,000 children were newly infected in 2009 due to lack of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission. While the number of new HIV infections is being stabilised or reversed in at least 56 countries, commitment and momentum must be maintained to ensure universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

UNAIDS 2010 Global Report is available at:
To watch the message, visit


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