Let Communities Lead!
The world can end AIDS, with communities leading the way. In 2022, an estimated 2.2 million people in the Western Pacific Region were living with HIV. Each of these people, their families and the organizations of communities living with, at risk of, or affected by the disease are shaping the HIV response.
World AIDS Day 2023, under the theme, “Let communities lead,” is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made to date, to raise awareness about the challenges that remain to achieve the goals of ending AIDS by 2030 and to mobilize all stakeholders to jointly redouble efforts to ensure the success of the HIV response.
People living with HIV and community health workers play pivotal roles in driving and enhancing the HIV response, as well as global health at large – including the quick response to mpox. Communities connect people with person-centered public health services, build trust, innovate, monitor implementation of policies and services, and hold health providers accountable.
Today, many of the communities are being held back in their leadership due to funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles, capacity constraints, and crackdowns on the human rights of marginalized communities, among others. Fully funding community advocates and health workers is essential to the ultimate goal of ending AIDS.
This World AIDS Day is more than a celebration of the achievements of communities; it is a call to action to enable and support communities in their leadership roles.
Calls to action:
- “Nothing about us without us” – Engage community leadership in all HIV plans and programs.
- “Not ending AIDS is more expensive than ending it” – Fully fund sustainable community leadership.
- “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower” – Support civil society with robust regulation.