WORLD AIDS DAY: MY HEALTH, MY RIGHT

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World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition.

This year’s World AIDS Day campaign focuses on the right to health .The #myrighttohealth campaign will provide information about the right to health and what impact it has on people’s lives. It will also aim to increase the visibility around the need to achieve the full realisation of the right to health by everyone, everywhere. Almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked in some way to health, so achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending the AIDS epidemic, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health.

We, at the World Assembly Youth (WAY) we consider World AIDS Day important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. In 2012 Melaka International Youth Dialogue, we tackled ‘Health, its My Right!’ to foster youth action towards implementation of ideas brought forward by the young people for the benefit of their societies, address the challenges and determinants of health faced by youth today and identify the role and the contribution of governments, national youth councils and other stakeholders towards improving and sustaining health as a right issue.

We also acknowledge that it is imperative for young people to have access to the adequate information about preventive measures and treatments so that it will enable them to avoid high risk and decrease death rate caused by the pandemic. Our effort in providing the right information about HIV/AIDS is not only the publication of our book pertaining to HIV/AIDS but also our continuous research performed so that the latest information and data are available for young people.

Let us urge everyone particularly young people to contribute their efforts. By joining our efforts, we will be able to decrease the access gap in terms of prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS.