01 December 2022 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The African Union (AU) Commission joins the world to commemorate 2022 World AIDS Day under the global theme for the day: “Equalize”.

The AU Commission organised a high-level commemoration event in Addis Ababa, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on Wednesday, 30 November, to re-ignite the political commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat in Africa by 2030.‎ The event was organised in ‎collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia, Africa Centres for Disease Control and ‎Prevention (CDC)‎, the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD)‎, and ‎UNAIDS, including the “Equalize” March within the AU headquarters.‎ Senior officials representing the Permanent Missions to the AU, AU ‎Specialized Institutions and UN Agencies stationed in Addis Ababa participated in the high-level opening session and “Equalize” March.

The AU Commission notes with concern that today, HIV prevalence is not because of a lack of knowledge or tools but because of structural inequalities that obstruct proven solutions to HIV prevention and treatment. “Equalize” is a call to action: a prompt to address the inequalities that impede the fight against ‎HIV/AIDS.

H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, AU Commission, reiterated in her closing remarks, “It has clearly been expressed that our focus, going forward, should be to work and move together towards eliminating HIV-related inequalities and stereotypes. I applaud all AU Member States’ actively reforming policies and conducting advocacy to ensure positive health outcomes and create secure environments that support the well-being of their citizens.I pay tribute to the families and friends we have lost to AIDS and honour all the activists at the forefront of the HIV response. They encourage us all to play our role in ensuring that the communities’ voices are heard and represented at the decision-making tables. As the leaders of Africa, we will continue to work towards more sustainable and resilient health systems that protect the future and wellness of our communities.The fight against AIDS continues. This World AIDS Day, the AU Commission calls for reinvigorated community engagement, renewed political will and global solidarity to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

Hon. Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, Ethiopia, noted in her closing remarks, “ As this year’s World AIDS Day theme calls, it is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS: Increase availability, quality and suitability of services, for HIV treatment, testing and prevention, so that everyone is well served; Address stigma among people living with HIV and key and priority populations; Optimize HIV prevention and treatment accesses to children, adolescents and young women; Engage the communities meaningfully; and Solve other persisting inequalities for basic services such as HIV case finding, treatment and prevention interventions.”

She also underscored the eight years left before the 2030 goal of ‎ending AIDS as a global health threat.

Economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities must be addressed as a matter of urgency; the gains made so far can easily be reversed unless we step up our efforts to end the persistent inequalities and inequities.‎‎”

AIDS Watch Africa (AWA), whose Secretariat is housed at the AU Commission‎, ‎‎continues to play an influential advocacy role in actively shaping discourse on HIV, ‎tuberculosis (TB), ‎malaria and health financing and will thus lead the 2022 World AIDS Day ‎initiative. ‎   ‎

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For media and interview inquiries, contact: Mr. Gamal Eldin Ahmed A. Karrar / Directorate of Information and Communication – African Union ‎Commission – Tell: +251911200922 E-mail: GamalK@africa-union.org or Ms. Whitney Mwangi / Directorate of Health and Humanitarian Affairs (‎AIDS Watch Africa Secretariat) – African Union Commission – E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

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