FPA Sri Lanka organised many events to commemorate this year's World AIDS Day
FPA Sri Lanka organised many events to commemorate this year's World AIDS Day, which was once again themed as “Zero new infections, Zero AIDS related death and Zero stigma and discrimination”. For 2015, more focus is to be placed on a fast track strategy for HIV prevention and treatment programmes for ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Sri Lanka too, has placed a lot of emphasis on getting tested for HIV this year.
An event themed “Increase access to HIV prevention and treatment- Reduce stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings, was organized in partnership with the National Hospital of Sri Lanka together with the National STD AIDS Control Programme. More than 100 healthcare workers including medical officers, nursing officers, medical laboratory technicians, infection control nurses and physiotherapists participated in this programme. Dr Anil Jayasinghe, Director NHSL and Ms Thushara Agus, Executive Director, FPA Sri Lanka chaired the event. Dr Janaki Widanapathirana, Consultant Community Physician from NSACP conducted a session on preventing stigma and discrimination for better outcome of HIV infection.
Mr Ajith Rohana Senior Superintendent of Police conducted a session on laws concerning commercial sex workers. The two sessions were followed by a panel discussion with the participation of community representatives chaired by Ms Madusha Dissanayake, Director- Advocacy and HIV of FPA Sri Lanka. FPA Sri Lanka would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Infection Disease Control Unit of NHSL in organising this successful event.
The National event to commemorate the World AIDS Day was held in Batticaloa and FPA Sri Lanka was represented by Mr Asitha Punchiheva (GFATM). As for other events, on the same day FPA Sri Lanka in partnership with the Kandy STD clinic, organized an event for youth leaders, under the banner of "Test Today" to encourage youth to reach out to other youth with correct information and provide them with suitable skills to advocate for youth friendly services for youth. On the 5th of December, FPA Sri Lanka in partnership with NSACP and the Prison Department conducted the annual World AIDS day walk, where Hon Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Dr Rajitha Seneratne gave his leadership by attending the event as its chief guest.
Furthermore, a march was organized by the STI Unit of the Mullaitivu RDHS in collaboration with FPA Sri Lanka's Kilinochchi Service Delivery Point on the 8th of Dec, under the purview of the Catalytic Fund project. 250 energetic participants were involved in this event which commenced from the Mancholai General Hospital to Thanneerootru Junction.
The Batticaloa Service Delivery Point (SDP) organized a stall featuring the range of condoms marketed by the SMP unit of FPA Sri Lanka at the Batticaloa town hall as a parallel programme of the National World AIDS Day Programme, which was held on the 01st of December 2015. The stall was ceremonially opened by the Regional Director of Health Services of Batticaloa (RDHS) together with other invitees. Over 2000 visitors which included youth, adolescents, army personnel and employees of the Health Department visited the stall.