Feature story

2009 World AIDS Day statements

30 November 2009

1 December 2009 marks the 21st anniversary of World AIDS Day. The theme for this year is "Universal Access and Human Rights".

To mark the day, the United Nations Secretary General, the Executive Director of UNAIDS Secretariat and Heads of UNAIDS Cosponsors and partners speak out in special World AIDS Day statements.

United Nations Secretary General,
Ban Ki-moon
World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009


"On World AIDS Day this year, our challenge is clear: we must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010."

Read the UN Secretary General's message en | es fr | ru | ar | ch

UNAIDS Executive Director
Michel Sidibé
World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

Press play to start
"AIDS provides a powerful mechanism for creating integrated health, human rights and development programmes.

We must take AIDS out of isolation and create a broad social movement that will accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals."

Read the UNAIDS Executive Director's message
(en es fr | ru )


Message from the High Commissioner for World AIDS Day 2009
Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

Today we mark the 21st Anniversary of World AIDS Day with the theme "Universal Access and Human Rights". As you know, AIDS is a major global crisis that has affected and continues to affect UNHCR’s persons of concern and the very staff who work to support them.

Read the full message


UNODC Executive Director
Antonio Maria Costa
Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

"On World AIDS Day 2009, UNODC stresses the importance that everyone – including those on the margins of society who are most at risk – should be able to live their rights."

Read the full message


Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“When looking at how all of us can maintain and strengthen our engagement in the AIDS response, I am fully committed that UNESCO will continue to address the social and structural factors that fuel the epidemic, including gender inequality and stigma and discrimination, and to empower young people to make healthy, informed decisions. We must build on our strengths, and move forward in concert with our partners.”

Read the full statement
Arabic | Chinese | French | Spanish | Russian


UNDP Administrator
Ms Helen Clark
Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“The international community observes World AIDS Day each year on December 1st. On this day we focus this year on the need for effective HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support.”

Read the UNDP Administrator's message
French | Spanish


Chief of nutrition and HIV/AIDS, World Food Programme
Martin Bloem
Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

"Gradually it has become clear that in the developing world, better nutrition plays an important role in HIV treatment programmes – by increasing the effectiveness of the treatment."

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Director of World Bank’s Global AIDS Program
Debrework Zewdie
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

"The Bank stepped up boldly with the first billion dollars for HIV a decade ago when denial and inaction were widespread. Now, the tide of the epidemic finally seems to be turning. But we are still in very deep water. Especially with much of the world still grappling with the food and financial crises, the Bank is doing the right thing in reaffirming to countries, just as each Bank president has done since 2000, that we will continue to support effective efforts to prevent and cope with HIV for as long as it takes to succeed against this virus."

Read the full message


Director-General of ILO
Mr. Juan Somavia
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“On this World AIDS Day we pay tribute to all who are engaged in breaking the silence and tackling one the cruellest global tragedies of our times. The ILO renews its commitment to doing our part to keep the promise in and through the world of work.”

Read the full statement
French | Spanish


UNFPA Executive Director
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“Today on World AIDS Day we extend solidarity to all people who are living with HIV and AIDS so they can live free of stigma and discrimination. And we remember and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to AIDS.”

Read the UNFPA Executive Director's message


Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for AIDS in Africa
Elizabeth Mataka
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“As women, we cannot work alone in fighting HIV. We need to support men and boys in developing positive and transformative masculinities which do not condone gender inequality and which support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights. We need to partner with men in addressing factors that fuel the epidemic on our continent such as multiple concurrent relationships, sexual violence and inter-generational and survival sex."
Read the full statement


UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Michael Ballack
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“Do you know that many people living with or affected by HIV don’t have access to health care, housing or even a job.
Why? Because of discrimination
It is critical that we do not discriminate against anyone for any reason!
Everyone deserves to live their rights
Join me and stand up for equal rights for all.”



UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Emmanuel Adebayor
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

Do you know that HIV is treatable?
- And still… too many people around the world do not have access to proper treatment, care and support
This is unacceptable!
Everyone deserves to live their rights
Join me and stand up for equal rights for all.”


UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Toumani Diabate
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

- to my message…Listen to my words…

Discrimination and stigmatization are some of the biggest challenges facing the HIV epidemic worldwide.

We can change that – people affected by HIV should have the same rights as everyone

Please join me on this special day to honour the courage of the people living with HIV and let us make sure our voices and support is heard."

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
Salman Ahmad
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009


"In my new song, "Love Can" from my forthcoming album and book Rock and Roll Jihad, I sing the line "when you see with the heart, all the masks come tumbling down, Love can you take me back?".

I believe we have to rediscover and relearn how to see the world with compassion. When we see with the heart, we see a diverse and beautiful humanity including those of us, women, children and men who are living with HIV and AIDS. Love is the way back to rediscovering that compassion. Love Can take us back."

UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“On World Aids Day let us renew our courage and commitment to get results
HIV prevention of mother to child transmission must be a key focus in the AIDS response -
Saving mothers, saving babies should remain one of our primary concerns.
A Global Commitment to scale up access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is today more needed than ever. "


UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador
HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“Access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is a critical part of human rights. Violations of human rights, including stigma and discrimination increase the risk of HIV and its impact. World Aids Day 2009 invites us all to engage, care and to keep the promise.

To stop aids, youth-led action must be facilitated. We need the engagement of youth to move forward in the response. There are several reasons for that: We cannot afford to lose the focus on aids now when we have come so far. Over the last six years, the number of people who have access to treatment in low income countries has increased from 400 000 to 3 million. We need renewed engagement to keep up the good efforts. It is also important to include youth in the aids response because young people under 24 are today the group most vulnerable to new infections. A third reason is that we need the openness, energy and expertise of youth to keep up the fighting spirit for human rights and against stigma and discrimination. It is young people who can lead the way in a new generation of aids response. They should define what is important to them. They know what makes them vulnerable. They can teach the older generation what works – and they can communicate through new channels. This will create new possibilities and ensure different perspectives in future responses.”

UN Plus: UN System HIV Positive Staff Group
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“Today communities around world will remember the millions who have died of AIDS and speak out in solidarity with those living with HIV. While many of us, thanks to access to treatment, are able to lead full and productive lives, the global response is still not meeting the needs of the vast majority of those living with HIV. Of the almost 10 million people living with HIV in need of treatment, only around 4 million have access, and availability of second and third line therapies is still a challenge.”

Read full statement

Dr Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“We must do more and do it now to stop people living with HIV from dying of tuberculosis. Countries need to find, prevent and treat tuberculosis in all people living with HIV and to test for HIV in all patients with TB in order to provide prevention, treatment and care. To do both they must developer collaborative programmes, nationwide, that address both diseases.”

Read full statement

Statement by UNAIDS and the European Union World AIDS Day

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“The Presidency of the European Union (EU) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) welcome South Africa’s strong focus on HIV prevention and HIV testing. The EU and UNAIDS stress the need for the full respect of all human rights -- that no man, woman, boy or girl must be subject to stigma and discrimination due to his or her HIV status, sexual orientation, age, or gender.”

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Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Dr Michel Kazatchkine
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“We have come a long way in the AIDS response with more than 4 million people now on treatment. But our gains need to be sustained. We must be concerned that in many parts of the world affected communities are still being denied their basic rights. We cannot rest when 80 countries still have homophobic laws and more than 70 countries still have travel restrictions for people living with HIV. Advancing human rights is absolutely central to the fight against AIDS and the fight for equality and for dignity must remain at the core of everything we do.”

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The Global Fund’s Ambassador for the protection of mothers and children against AIDS
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“No mother needs to die from AIDS and no child should be born with HIV anywhere in the world. We must ensure that these disparities end. These are goals that are achievable, that accelerate the pace of our efforts, and that will not only help us save lives from AIDS but, as we increasingly see, will benefit maternal and child health more widely.”

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Fight against AIDS: Francophone Parliamentary Assembly mobilized
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the parliamentary network against HIV/AIDS, which is part of the Francophone Parliamentary Assembly, calls on all francophone countries to redouble their efforts to reduce the spread of HIV, which continues to have a strong impact on these countries.

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Executive Director, International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Alvaro Bermejo
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“World AIDS Day is a good opportunity to remind us to continue to show dynamic, innovative and courageous leadership. The fantastic integration between healthcare services with NGOs and faith-based organisations running home and community care programmes that I see here in Cambodia and elsewhere around the world can inspire the vision we all need. Let’s make this World AIDS Day an opportunity to recommit ourselves to continue to fight the spread and impact of HIV, and to hold governments to account for any failure to protect their citizens’ human rights.”

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Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

“Our Coalition is at the heart of a movement that’s increasing impact in the fight against AIDS. We’re making global health action smarter by joining the corporate sector, governments and civil society together.”

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The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+)
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009

On World AIDS Day 2009, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) is highlighting and calling for continuing support for the leadership of people living with HIV in the HIV response. For World AIDS Day 2009 GNP+ highlights four programmes that demonstrate how meaningful involvement of people living with HIV can provide significant contributions to the national and international HIV response.

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WorldYWCA World YWCA
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“The latest research on women’s health indicates that lack of contraception and unsafe sex are the crucial risk factors for death and disability in women of reproductive age (15 – 49 years old). Unsafe sex can result in unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortions, reproductive complications and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.

As civil society continues to push for Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by the end of 2010, it is essential that governments and world leaders understand that for universal access to be truly universal, the human rights of young women and women living with HIV must also be upheld." .

Read the statement
French | Spanish

World AIDS Day messages from Faith Leaders

Pope Benedict XVI

"My thoughts and my prayers go with every person who has been touched by this illness, partiuculary the children, the poor and the rejected. The Church does not cease to make every effort to combat AIDS through its institutions and personnel dedicated to this task. I urge all people to offer their own contributions through prayer and concrete attention, so that those affected by the HIV virus will experience the presence of the Lord who gives comfort and hope. In conclusion, I hope that, by multiplying and coordinating these efforts, it will be possible to stop and overcome this illness."

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The Archbishop of Canterbury
Dr Rowan Williams

"We know that transmission from mother to child is now something that can be dealt with. We need to encourage all our governments to keep up their commitment to making this medical help available, and to giving that hope which we know is possible. And in all of that, the churches have a crucial role. How the Church really can be a lifesaver here. So we can pray that all our congregations will be themselves the agents of hope that they have the capacity to be."

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President, Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar
Cardinal Polycarp Pengo

"Constantly present among millions of Africans who are badly affected by the pandemic, we see how AIDS continues to ravage our populations, even if it is slipping down the agenda of governments, civil society and international organizations. At a time when official concerns about the pandemic are receding, we re-affirm theologically that the Body of Christ has AIDS, and express our pastoral determination as Family of God to provide fitting responses. For our continent is still the worst afflicted."

President and CEO, Catholic Medical Mission Board
John F Galbraith

“I am constantly amazed at the dignity, bravery and living in conditions of the people we are helping. For any one of us to be exposed to even 10% of the challenges they face on a daily basis, would probably be pretty hard and we wouldn’t handle it too well.
If you were to meet any one of those people, you would never doubt why you should be a contributor to our organisation. They are living proof of the strength and depth of the human personality.”

Read full message

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