World AIDS Day began to be celebrated globally on 1 December 1988 to provide an opportunity to reflect on the pandemic and the work being carried out to minimize the incidence of HIV and AIDS. World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness, fighting stigma, improving education, mobilising resources and raising funds to better the global response to HIV and AIDS.
The day is also an opportunity for public and private partners to circulate information about HIV and AIDS and to encourage communities to continue to work towards HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care, particularly in high prevalence countries like PNG.
The theme for World AIDS Day from 2011 -2015 is: “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”. The 2013 global campaign’s focus was to continue to work to improve access to prevention, treatment and care services for adolescents (10-19 years), a group that continues to be at high risk.
Highlights of the 2013 North Fly World AIDS Day celebrations included a pre World AIDS Day day march on 29 November from Kiunga fuel distribution site to the Kiunga mini mart. Twelve partner vehicles formed a convoy and were escorted by a police vehicle and members of the Defence force.
Guest speakers on the day included the North Fly District Administrator, the District Health Manager and other health partners’ representatives. The NFHSDP was officially represented by the Rural Health Coordinator and all NFHSDP officers participated in the 1 day program.
NFHSDP also set up a tent to accommodate Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing (VCCT) and awareness programs. HIV and AIDS and TB posters and pamphlets were distributed during awareness and VCCT. Sr. Alice Rosario, Sister in Charge of the Kiunga STI and HIV Clinic said “I’m happy to see that we got more people tested this year compared to previous World AIDS Days”.
NFHSDP worked with the District AIDS Committee/World AIDS Day Organising Committee to support a range of initiatives in the lead up to World AIDS Day to ensure the HIV awareness message was shared broadly. Other activities included:
- HIV awareness programs for Kiunga communities, business houses, schools and camps;
- Distribution of 254 HIV and AIDS information, educational and communication (IEC) materials;
- Distribution of 332 TB IEC pamphlets and posters;
- Distribution of 67 red HIV World AIDS Day shirts (kindly printed by Callan Services) that were proudly worn by health personnel from all partner agencies;
- Distribution of 200 red ribbons and 50 red balloons to community members who participated in the march;
- 102 people (36 male and 66 female) participated in VCCT awareness programs; and
- 18 people (10 male and 8 females) were tested for HIV.
 WHO (2013), available from http://www.who.int/campaigns/aids-day/2013/event/en/