(DECEMBER 1, 2012) – AIDS Healthcare Foundation has come to be a global leader in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world. Opening new clinics and forging new partnerships in more and more countries every year, AHF currently works in nearly every region of the world, providing access to free HIV testing and treatment for those living with the virus, as well as distributing condoms to increase prevention efforts and educating people about HIV and proper condom use.
Be it an attempt at a Guinness World Record for most people tested in one day in AHF’s newest partner country of Argentina, a rousing march and rally through Sierra Leone’s capital city of Freetown, HIV debates held among students in Nigerian high schools, a multitude of HIV testing centers throughout Cambodian provinces, or simultaneous testing in 15 cities throughout the Ukraine, AHF is using World AIDS Day 2012 as a fulcrum around which the entire world can gather to make an impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS.
AHF is welcoming its newest partnering country with a major event: on November 30, AHF Argentina will support ten testing facilities throughout the city of Rosario in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for “Most People Tested for HIV in Multiple Venues in One City in One Day.” The testing venues will all be open from 10 am – 6 pm, and – with 10,000 rapid tests mailed in from Mexico for the event – AHF Argentina is prepared to test an intended 5,000 people in that eight-hour period.
For more information on Argentinian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Dr. Patricia Campos, head of AHF Latin American Bureau: [email protected] or (+52) 55.52.07.9081
AHF Cambodia is focusing its testing and awareness efforts on the highest-risk populations in the country, namely entertainment workers, garment factory workers, gay men, and construction workers. The goals of their events include educating 96,500 people, testing 12,000 people for HIV, and distributing 193,000 condoms. HIV testing and outreach will take place in five districts in the Phnom Penh province from November 17 through December 7, and from December 3 – 18 HIV testing will be done at nine locations in the Takeo, Preah Shihanuk, and Seam Reap provinces.
For more information on Cambodian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Dr. Kim Heang Ung, AHF Cambodia Country Program Manager: [email protected] or (+855) 23.727.595
AHF China will be doing HIV testing and condom distribution throughout the country through the end of the year, beginning on November 20 with a testing event in partnership with Beijing’s Youan Hospital. That event in Beijing runs through December 19 with the expected outcome of getting 500 people tested for HIV and distributing 12,000 condoms. On World AIDS Day (December 1), AHF China will hold an event with the Ministry of Health at Beijing’s Great Hall of People, and three more regional testing campaigns will be launched: testing in Wolong district, Nan Yang City, and Henan province will take place through December 4 with an expected outcome of 1,700 people tested and 6,000 condoms distributed; testing in Chongqing City will continue throughout the month of December with expected results of 630 people tested and 16,000 condoms distributed; and testing in Xiaoyi town, Baihe town, Heng county and Nan Ning City will take place through December 5, with 800 people expected to be tested and 10,000 condoms distributed.
For more information on Chinese World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Dr. Chhim Sarath, head of the AHF Asia Pacific Bureau: [email protected] or (+855) 97.80.88888
AHF Estonia will celebrate World AIDS Day on December 1 with testing events held in Tallinn and Narva, where they hope to test 1,000 people and distribute 10,000 condoms. In addition to a media campaign, there will also be concerts and “solidarity evenings” to mark the day of remembrance.
For more information on Estonian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Zoya Shabarova, head of the AHF Eastern Europe Bureau: [email protected] or (+1) 323.217.2869
AHF Ethiopia celebrated World AIDS Day with multiple HIV testing events in advance of the holiday. From November 19 – 29, 1,202 people were tested in conjunction with the Addis Ababa Health Bureau; from November 20 – 27, 327 people were tested through an event organized to mark the 125th anniversary of the city of Addis Ababa; and from November 28 – 30, 73 people were tested at the Civil Service Minister’s Office. Additionally, AHF Ethiopia will take part in two World AIDS Day events on December 4 (one with the Water & Energy Ministry and one with Yeka Sub City Health) and one on December 11 (in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and Truism).
For more information on Ethiopian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Guatemala will mark the special day by hosting a three-day community awareness event from noon – 8 pm on November 28 – 30 in front of the Municipal Theater in Quetzaltenango. In addition to HIV testing, there will be a hair-cutting benefit to purchase baby formula and prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child through breast milk, as well as art, dance, music, and theater performances and Mayan cultural presentations. Furthermore, AHF Guatemala will host a 4 km march through the streets of Xela on November 30 from 9 am – noon to eradicate HIV discrimination. Finally, a 6 km marathon through the streets of Xela to fight discrimination and encourage testing will take place on December 1 from 9 – 11 am, beginning and ending at the city’s Municipal Theater.
For more information on Guatemalan World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Dr. Patricia Campos, head of AHF Latin American Bureau: [email protected] or (+52) 55.52.07.9081
In the days leading up to World AIDS Day, AHF India held 10 different events around the country in conjunction with partner organizations with the goal of testing 1,500 people and distributing 7,000 condoms. On November 30, AHF India marked the big day by displaying more than a kilometer’s worth of positive letters to the health minister written by people living with HIV across the country from Route Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Additionally, a press conference was held on that day in New Delhi appealing to the Union Health Minister to provide access to health care for all people living with HIV in India, regardless of staging (currently, there is only one health plan available there that covers people who are in the third and fourth stages of living with HIV/AIDS).
For more information on Indian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Shibu Cheruvelil, AHF India Country Program Manager: [email protected] or (+91) 11.468.66801
AHF Kenya hosted five pre-World AIDS Day events in collaboration with the Ministry of Health for Mombasa and Makueni counties, all of which highlighted AHF-supported clinics and the free services offered there with a procession to the clinic, condom distribution, and door-to-door community outreach. Such an event took place in Kongowea on November 26, in both Mikindani and Emali on November 28, in Mtongwe on November 29, and in Kasikeu on November 30. Then, on December 1, AHF Kenya plans to test 3,000 people and distribute 10,000 condoms at events held in three districts of Mombasa county in conjunction with the Constituency AIDS Control Council and a regional event in Makueni county in collaboration with the Emali Ministry of Health.
For more information on Kenyan World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Kyrgyzstan will do HIV testing simultaneously in five different cities on December 1 with Dance4Life Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, they hope to distribute 1,000 condoms at those events.
For more information on Kyrgyzstani World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Zoya Shabarova, head of the AHF Eastern Europe Bureau: [email protected] or (+1) 323.217.2869
AHF Lithuania will be marking World AIDS Day December 1 by conducting HIV testing in five different cities (with the expected outcome of testing 480 people and distributing 15,000 condoms) and launching the “Why Is It Important To Know My HIV Status?” information campaign. Additionally, AHF Lithuania will host a round table discussion and unveil billboards encouraging Lithuanians to “Keep The Promise” to stay vigilant in their fight against HIV/AIDS.
For more information on Lithuanian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Zoya Shabarova, head of the AHF Eastern Europe Bureau: [email protected] or (+1) 323.217.2869
AHF Nigeria set out to test 10,000 people during the week leading up to and including World AIDS Day with the additional goals of sensitizing communities to HIV testing, reducing HIV stigma, and raising awareness about the availability of treatment in Nigeria through AHF-supported clinics. The testing target for each of the pre-World AIDS Day events was 500 people, and each one was also accompanied by a road walk to raise awareness, music, dance, and theater performances, and the opportunity to receive counseling. Those events took place in Agasha on November 26, in Angorough on November 27, in Ikyor on November 28, in Abuja on November 29, in Mgban on November 30, and in Gbajimba on December 1. Additionally, high school students in Abuja competed in a debate on HIV/AIDS on November 29. Also on December 1, at 9:00 am, AHF Nigeria will host the Red Street Walkathon, a peaceful march of about 500 people aged 18-32 handing out informational fliers through the central area of Abuja. The walkathon will end after an hour at Millennium Park with the human formation of a giant red ribbon. The crowd will hold the formation during a roll call of the names of all those in the community who have passed away from HIV/AIDS, and a subsequent two minutes of silence in remembrance. Young people will also take park in an event dubbed “Condomize!” in which they will draw attention to condom use by posing with condoms, dancing, and making art like condom badges and hair clips.
For more information on Nigerian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Nepal is marking World AIDS Day with a “Test & Treat” event on December 1 in the remote area of Chitwan, where they plan to test 3,000 people for HIV and distribute 50,000 condoms. The event will be led by eight village development committees in conjunction with partners like the District Public Health Office, Bharatpur Hospital, the District AIDS Coordination Committee, the media, local NGOs, and local networks for people living with HIV. Though the event is being held for the general public of Chitwan, the main groups targeted for testing are migrant workers, truck and bus drivers who travel the highways, and teenagers both in and out of school.
For more information on Nepalese World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Nur Prasad Pant, country program manager for AHF Nepal: [email protected] or (+977) 1.4412588
Before World AIDS Day, AHF Russia hosted a press conference on the importance of HIV testing and the current HIV/AIDS situation in Russia on November 27, and 20 regional testing events with the goal of getting 2,000 people tested on November 30. All of these pre-World AIDS Day events were held in the Sverdlovsk region. On December 1, there will be a testing event in Vyborg accompanied by a round table discussion and a CD-4 rapid testing event in St. Petersburg. Also, 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the “Remember. Know. Live.” exhibition being held throughout the Sverdlovsk region on World AIDS Day. Finally, December 1 celebrations in Moscow will include a party for AHF Russia volunteers, testing events throughout the region, a photo exhibition, and an infographic campaign on social networks.
For more information on Russian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Zoya Shabarova, head of the AHF Eastern Europe Bureau: [email protected] or (+1) 323.217.2869
In Rwanda AHF supports six health centers in two separate districts for the estimated 220,000 people living with HIV/AIDS there. The country’s theme for World AIDS Day this year focuses on the role of intore in stopping new HIV infections in Rwanda. A uniquely Rwandan cultural trait, intore is a group of upstanding Rwandan citizens that exist in every community and serve as role models and mentors, providing cultural values that should characterize the model Rwandan. Prior to World AIDS Day, AHF Rwanda supported testing and counseling events, as well as condom distribution, in 18 villages throughout the country. On December 1, celebrations were held inside the clinics for people (especially children) living with HIV, and there will be a massive community event in Gicumbi, about 30 km outside of the capital city of Kigali. In addition to testing and counseling, the Gicumbi event will feature entertainment, speeches, attending Rwandan officials, and the launch of the three-month intore-themed campaign with mass media pushes, community dialogues and targeted outreach to the highest-risk populations like sex workers, long distance drivers, and fishermen.
For more information on Rwandan World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Sierra Leone began its World AIDS Day events on November 23 by kicking off countrywide testing, counseling, and condom distribution that will continue through December 2 with the goal of testing at least 30,000 people. Additional community testing was launched on November 26 in conjunction with the National HIV/AIDS Control Program and will also continue through December 2. A press conference about the importance of HIV testing was also held on November 26. On December 1, a really will be held in the capital city of Freetown, starting at Victoria Park and ending in front of the Miatta Conference Centre. Speeches from partnering organizations and people living with HIV will take place during the World AIDS Day rally as well.
For more information on Sierra Leonean World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF South Africa entered the month before World AIDS Day by setting a goal of testing 9,000 people by the end of November. As of November 28, the total number of people tested through AHF-supported clinics and the pre-World AIDS Day events was 8,172. The pre-World AIDS Day events that contributed to that number were events held at the Mega City and Isiphingo shopping malls in Umlazi from November 16 –18 (at which 1,087 were tested); testing events at Isiphango and Umlazi train stations from November 19 – 23 (where 208 people were tested); and testing and condom distribution events held from November 23 – 25 at the Isiphingo Taxi Rank, the Umlazi Taxi Rank, and the Mega City Shopping Mall (where 1,411 people were tested).There was also HIV testing and condom distribution done at the November 23 launch of the provincial “Hlola Manje” (“Get Tested Now”) campaign. That campaign was officially launched on November 30 with a presentation from AHF South Africa about their work fighting HIV/AIDS in Umlazi. Additionally, from November 29 – December 2, HIV education and testing (as well as condom distribution) was done at all the malls, taxi ranks, and factories in and around Umlazi that had not been visited in the previous testing events. A provincial World AIDS Day event for December 1 was also organized by AHF South Africa in conjunction with the Ethekwini Municipality under the theme “Let’s Play It Safe.”
For more information on South African World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Swaziland beat everyone to the punch by celebrating World AIDS Day on October 24, beginning at 8:15 am with a march around Manzini City led by the Royal Swaziland Police brass band. Festivities in Millennium Park continued until 1:30 pm with speeches, media coverage from national TV and radio stations, and HIV testing. 253 people were tested that day, and the 77 who tested positive were immediately linked with local treatment options. A second celebration was held on November 30 in Manzini, also beginning with a march and featuring a speech from Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso B. Dlamini.
For more information on Swazi World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Uganda is celebrating World AIDS Day with a weeklong awareness campaign called “One Week In December.” This is the premiere of what will be an annual event in the country and its goal is to raise awareness and understanding through sharing information, changing attitudes, and improving sexual health in Uganda through partnerships like Uganda Cares. It also aims to re-emphasize corporate social responsibility, encourage the free flow of information among Ugandans, and use role models and celebrities as ambassadors for change. The campaign will be marked by a mini documentary, a media campaign, a mobile cinema and entertainment campaign, and a social media campaign featuring Ugandans holding signs about living with and fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
For more information on Ugandan World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311
AHF Ukraine is celebrating World AIDS Day by testing for the first time in hypermarkets and malls in Kyiv, which took place at four locations over the course of three days leading up to the special day. Testing actions also took place in 15 cities throughout the country, as well as condom distribution in the streets of Odessa. AHF Ukraine aimed to get 2,000 people tested and to distribute 30,000 condoms through these events.
For more information on Russian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Zoya Shabarova, head of the AHF Eastern Europe Bureau: [email protected] or (+1) 323.217.2869
AHF Zambia is celebrating World AIDS Day under the national theme “I am a Youth Making a Change for an HIV-free Zambia.” Events started on November 20 and continue through December 1. Activities at these events include HIV testing, condom distribution, eye health and vision care discussions, and help in dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. On November 24, an activism event resulted over 269,568 AHF-branded LOVE condoms being distributed and 560 people getting tested.
For more information on Zambian World AIDS Day celebrations, contact Penninah Lutung, head of the AHF African Bureau: [email protected] or (+256) 414.346.311