World Aids Day 2018
World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. This year’s theme was “Know Your Status”.
HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives. Unfortunately, many barriers to HIV testing remain. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. Many people still only get tested after becoming ill and symptomatic.
The National STD/AIDS Control Programme (NSACP), Ministry of Health, spearheads the national response to HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka. This year the NSACP and partners decided to dedicate World AIDS Day to promote testing in order to End AIDS by 2025, with special emphasis on the protection of youth.
Many activities were organised to educate the public and to promote testing. FPA Sri Lanka sponsored numerous free testing clinics around Colombo throughout November.
On the day, a rally was organised by the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka and the national event was held under the purview of the Director General of Health Services Anil Jasinghe. The rally which saw the participation of over 3000 persons commenced at the Colombo Municipal Council premises concluded at the BMICH in Colombo.
Representing FPA Sri Lanka, Project Manager - GFATM HIV Prevention Project and Deputy Director - HIV Ms Nadika Fernandopulle addressed the gathering at the World AIDS Day National event.
Whilst increasing visibility of the services rendered by FPA Sri Lanka to the community, a stall managed by the Sales and Marketing Programme (SMP ) served as an awareness platform, through which those who visited the stall had the opportunity of obtaining information on family planning, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Sexual and Reproductive Health. All visitors were able to walk away with a range of free samples of contraceptive products.