Participants undergoing HIV testing
In observance of World AIDS Day, UNO Baku conducted an informative seminar on combating HIV/AIDS at the Sumgait State University (SSU), organized by the Azerbaijani Red Crescent Society and the Azerbaijan National Centre in Response to AIDS, on 1 December.
Kicking off the event, the UNO Baku team read the UN Secretary-General’s message on the occasion and screened the MDG6 video on combating HIV, AIDS and TB. The video demonstrated to the audience how prevalent the issue of HIV/AIDS is worldwide and noted the fact that it remains one of the highest points on the agenda of the United Nations.
“We are very glad to see so many organizations coming together to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS. Additionally it is pleasing to find out that the Azerbaijani government is signatory to the millennium declaration and that the Administration supports the efforts of NGOs and IGOs to stop the spread of AIDS through MDG6,” exclaimed Mazahirli Narmin, a Red Crescent volunteer.
For Lamiya Shahmammadova, Head of the Sumgayıt Center for AIDS, who presented the general statistics of HIV/AIDS in Azerbaijan, one of the main goals is to highlight the social difficulties that HIV diagnosed people face. These intricacies mostly emerge out of ongoing discrimination against those that have been tested as HIV positive.
Ms. Shahmammadova was supported by Red Crescent volunteers and the AIDs program director of Shaban Sayev, in saying: “By not treating these people equally we force them to hide their disease, this can and does lead to the virus spreading.”
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.