NYC, GRPA reiterate commitment to fight HIV/AIDS
Guyana Chronicle
December 2, 2003

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YESTERDAY was internationally observed as World AIDS Day and National Youth Commission (NYC) and Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association also marked the occasion with messages.

Both organisations pledged commitment and determination to help in the fight against the dreaded scourge of HIV/AIDS.

NYC, an umbrella body also representing youth from faith-based, trade union, political, non-governmental and regional organisations, added its voice and support to campaign.

Noting that the observance is being used to focus on what has been and is yet to be done to curb the pandemic, NYC said, aware that young people can make a difference, it is prepared to accept the challenge to confront and control the unfolding tragedy of HIV/AIDS.

NYC called on all Guyana to play a part in the battle, acknowledging the contributions of the Government of Guyana, in particular, the Ministry of Health, which has embarked upon an ambitious plan to provide antiretroviral drugs to patients, upscale the prevention of mother to child transmission and the voluntary counselling programmes nationally.

NYC, encouraging other ministries to develop relevant schemes within their respective sectors, said, importantly, the Regional Democratic Councils RDCs) must provide leadership to their constituents and press for resources.

The statement said this year’s global scorecard is still depressing, with an estimate of between 34 and 36 million people living with the infection, about five million newly infected and three million dead.

“These figures certainly give us an idea of the extraordinary loss that humanity has suffered and would continue to suffer if we do not join together to stop this raging pandemic,” NYC stated.

It said an analysis of the affected age group shows that young people make up a significant number as, globally, it is estimated that 2.5 million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV/AIDS, a trend similar in Guyana.

GRPA urged that people “pause, think and assess the impact of this pandemic on our society and the world as a whole.”

It asked that everyone “keep HIV/AIDS issues on the front burner every day after December 1, 2003, since our individual and collective well-being depend on if we can win this fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“We must embrace all those who are infected and affected and give them the support that they need to help them to face the challenges HIV/AIDS has presented and resolve to remove all forms of stigma and discrimination, especially against those who are infected,” the statement read.

GRPA said it would continue to collaborate nationally and internationally in the fight against the affliction and, in collaboration with Caribbean Family Planning Association, has embarked on a project named ‘Fighting AIDS Through Training and Education (FATE)’, with funding from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

At the launch here, last September 17, it targeted youths between the ages of 10 and 25 years old, with three major objectives geared towards addressing the prevention of HIV/AIDS, including to provide young people with another opportunity to access information.