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World AIDS Day 2023 commemorated with determination and hope for a HIV-Free Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, in collaboration with the Common Management Unit (CMU) for AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the UN family, the Association of People Living with HIV (APLHIV), and other community partners, marked World AIDS Day 2023 on Friday with a resolute commitment to the global theme, “Let Communities Lead.”

Caretaker Federal Health Minister Dr Nadeem Jan said the Government of Pakistan is firmly committed to eradicating the AIDS epidemic by 2030, aligning with the global 95-95-95 HIV milestones, according to a press release.

He said it is crucial to address healthcare and societal imbalances to ensure that no one is marginalized or left behind. On the occasion of World AIDS Day, Federal Health Secretary Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said that the world can end AIDS, with communities leading the way.

He said communities living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV have a greater role to play and need to join the frontline forces to halt the upward trend of the HIV epidemic.

He said we all need to join hands and connect for providing person-centered public health services, build trust, innovate, monitor implementation of policies and services, and hold providers accountable.

Speaking at the event. Dr Razia Kaniz Fatima National Coordination for Coordination Management Unit, AIDS, TB and Malaria, emphasized the need to empower and trust communities to take the lead in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that address the unique needs of their members.

Mr Julien Harneis- Resident Coordinator of United Nations in Pakistan- said despite investment and efforts of the government and partners, HIV infections are still rising in Pakistan. To stop the disease, he said, we must get better at listening to marginalized people and giving them the support.

Ms Yuki Takemoto Country Director UNAIDS Pakistan said World AIDS Day 2023 highlights the full potential of community leadership to help end AIDS as a public health threat in Pakistan.