2008 World AIDS Day statements

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2008 World AIDS Day statements

30 November 2008

1 December 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.

This year’s theme is “Lead – Empower – Deliver" Designating leadership as the theme provides an opportunity to highlight both political leadership and celebrate leadership that has been witnessed at all levels of society. To mark the day, the United Nations Secretary General, the Executive Director of UNAIDS and UNAIDS Cosponsors and partners speak out in special World AIDS Day statements.

United Nations Secretary General,
Ban Ki-moon
World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Press play to start

"We have to end the stigma and discrimination that still stop so many people from learning how to prevent HIV and get treatment. And we need resources -- enough to provide services that will have a real impact in communities and on entire nations. The need to lead, empower and deliver on AIDS is as real and urgent as ever."

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

UNAIDS Executive Director
Dr. Peter Piot
World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Press play to start

"Let’s not forget that AIDS is not over anywhere. Indeed, on World AIDS Day 2008, there are as many reasons for concern as for celebration."

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

Other World AIDS Day messages:


WHO Director-General
Dr Margaret Chan

Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“This year, which marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, also marks a major milestone in the long struggle against this disease. Well over 3 million people in low- and middle-income countries are now receiving life-prolonging antiretroviral therapy. Such an achievement was unthinkable 20 years ago, when the world was just beginning to comprehend the significance of this disease and its catastrophic impact on individuals, families, and societies.”

Read the full statement


UNDP Administrator
Mr Kemal Derviş

Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“Tackling this epidemic remains a top priority for UNDP. With strong leadership, by empowering people living with HIV, and by delivering on the promises that have already been made, there is real hope that we can turn the tide against AIDS.”

Read the UNDP Administrator's message
 en es fr )


Head of UNHCR's Division of Operational Services
Arnauld Akodjenou

Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"UNHCR's HIV and AIDS programmes have come a long way, HIV remains one of the policy priorities of the High Commissioner [for Refugees António Guterres] and protection remains the cornerstone of UNHCR's HIV and AIDS strategy. Today, we have reached nearly 100 percent coverage in universal precautions in health clinics in refugee camps and safe blood supply to refugees; [while] access to programmes for prevention of mother-to-child transmission increased to more than 60 percent."

Read the full message


UNODC Executive Director
Antonio Maria Costa

Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Today, we mark the 20th anniversary of the World AIDS Day. Long ago, we pledged to "keep the promise" but we have not. AIDS is still with us. Among the estimated 16 million people injecting drugs worldwide, one in five will likely contract HIV.

Is "AIDS fatigue" setting in as other global problems compete for attention? United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has declared that the challenge is to sustain leadership in this fight. Without strong and committed leadership, we will fail.

Read the full message


World Food Programme
Message for World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"Good nutrition is vital for the health and survival of all people, but it is particularly important for people with HIV/AIDS. In combination with clean water, hygiene and care, nutritious food helps people stay healthier longer, and improves the impact of anti-retroviral drug treatment."

Read more


Director-General of UNESCO
Mr. Koichiro Matsuura
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“The world is, at last, making some real progress in its response to AIDS, confirmed in the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic.”

Read the full statement


The World Bank
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Today, with some 33 million people living with HIV, World AIDS Day and events like the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, taking place in Senegal, December 3-7, remain “extraordinarily important for those who are trying to fight AIDS in this world,” says Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa region.

Read the full message


Director-General of ILO
Mr. Juan Somavia
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“On this World AIDS Day, the ILO recommits to making work and workplaces key avenues for responding to the challenge of HIV/AIDS.

The last Global AIDS Report showed signs of progress in the battle against the epidemic. This is encouraging – we know that with concerted action we can beat it.”

Read the full statement


UNFPA Executive Director
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“Today, as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, we pay tribute to the leaders in communities and nations who have promoted greater awareness and action to address the AIDS pandemic. If there is one lesson learned over the years, it is that success in responding to the HIV epidemic requires sustained leadership, community engagement and the involvement of people living with HIV.”

Read the UNFPA Executive Director's message


Jimmy Kolker
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“We are making real progress in terms of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and of treatment of young people, but at the same time there is a huge amount that needs to be done.”

Read the full message


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"This year, we mark both the 20th World AIDS Day and the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is fitting that during these landmark anniversaries we consider how far we have come in the global effort to combat AIDS."

Read the full statement

UNIFEM Executive Director
Ms. Inés Alberdi
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"Imagine a world where every woman who needs treatment, whether young or old, gets it; where women in all countries are allowed to inherit equally with men — in practice as well as in law; where women in all countries are aware about their rights to prevention, treatment and care, and are empowered to claim these rights; where HIV-positive women are shaping the policies that affect their lives and making decisions on policy priorities and budgets."

Read full statement


Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for AIDS in Africa
Elizabeth Mataka
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“World AIDS day should not just be a reminder of the horrible situation HIV and AIDS has created in the world and in particular sub Saharan Africa, but it should also be a day for applauding the progress that we have made so far.”

Read the full statement


Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
Lars Kallings
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“Leadership has been important all from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic; initially from activists, scientists and public health leaders against ignorant and indifferent politicians and authorities. When the World AIDS Day was initiated in 1988. President Kenneth Kaunda was among the few politicians who exerted leadership by declaring that his son had died of AIDS. This has improved since then; awareness has increased and denial is less common. Unfortunately, twenty years later we are still awaiting empowerment of women and marginalized groups and in my work as Special Envoy I am shocked to meet with medieval discriminatory attitudes among leaders in different areas in politics, religion, education and not the least among doctors and nurses , those who should instead lead the fight against discrimination. This must be changed! “ Lars Kallings, UN SG Special Envoy on HIV and AIDS for Eastern Europe”


UNAIDS Goodwill Representative
Michael Ballack
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“As an athlete, I compete on the field. But off the field, we must team up and unite in the struggle against AIDS. There are no second chances when you are playing with your life. On this day, the 20th anniversary of World Aids Day, I urge you to make AIDS your business and unite with your peers and join us in being smart and helping protect ourselves as well as others. ”

UNAIDS Special Representative
Salman Ahmad
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"On December 1, 2008 we will mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. As more and more people are globally connected to each other through technology, sharing the power of a good idea can help bring about transformational change on our planet rapidly. As a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, I pledge my continuing support to help raise awareness and to shine a light on all the unsung heroes and organisations who have joined UNAIDS to "Lead, Empower and Deliver" the world to an HIV/AIDS free future.

Together we can provide hope, knowledge, treatment and compassion to all people living with HIV."


UNAIDS Special Representative
HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"We need national and global leaders to fulfil their commitment to secure universal access to prevention, treatment and care.

But today, 26 year after the virus was discovered, we also need to secure leadership for the future. Youth leadership is a key factor in the fight against AIDS. We need youth to follow up and intensify the efforts to stop and reverse the spread of HIV. In my AIDS related work, I meet remarkable young people who have the energy, courage and stamina to address sensitive issues – and to put pressure on those in power.

Still, most important of all: We must give voice to those who are affected, and empower more of them to take leadership. They are the most important contributors in the fight against AIDS. What I have learned about this issue, I have mostly learned from positive people. It is their voices, experience and their expertise we need for sustainable and lasting change.

I will encourage leaders on all levels to seek broad partnership and join forces. Only then can we truly lead, empower – and deliver.”

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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 2008

“Twenty years after the first World AIDS Day, we have come a long way. Leadership at both the international and national levels has generated the resources to build treatment and prevention programs that are saving lives and showing evidence of impact on the disease. Millions of people have benefited thanks to these efforts. However, the latest UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic shows that HIV/AIDS is still a major health burden. We must all continue our work to prevent the disease from spreading further, to make sure that people living with AIDS have access to treatment and care and to ensure that resources are available to deliver on the promises of the international community”


The World AIDS Campaign
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

The 1st of December, World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organisations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Whilst we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done.

More World AIDS Campaign resources and World AIDS Day events around the world


UN Plus
Official World AIDS Day Statement 2008

“Today is 1 December the day when communities around the world commemorate World AIDS Day. For many individuals and organizations this day is a rare occasion to reflect upon how HIV and AIDS has affected the world around them, their lives and that of their loved ones. For those of us in UN Plus, the group of United Nations staff living with HIV, our positive status means that this type of reflection is something that takes place every day of the year - not just on 1 December.”

Read the full statement

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
Video message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“Our hope and our prayer today is that the excellent work that’s done, not just in developing countries but here at home too by the Churches will continue and deepen and be strengthened by our prayer and our commitment.

Recognising that people living with HIV is us not them, whether it’s leaders and congregations, congregations and ’outsiders’ - it’s us. It’s all of our business...Church leaders and Church congregations taking responsibility for educating the wider public.”

Watch the video

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The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

CEOs from leading Coalition member companies are striking a blow against discrimination and stigma this World AIDS Day, by signing the Coalition’s HIV/AIDS nondiscrimination pledge. Ending stigma is fundamental to winning the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Read the pledge

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The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA)
WEA Accepts Call to Action on HIV, 1 December 2008

WEA's General Assembly received and affirmed the Call to Action in an overwhelming vote on October 29, 2008. Bishop Gerry Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean, has agreed to lead a small task force to recommend how WEA can implement the Call to Action. Representatives from Asia, Africa and the Americas will be joined on the task force by Rev. Patricia Sawo of ANERELA+ (the African Network of Religious Leaders Living With and Personally Affected by HIV) and Sally Smith (UNAIDS). The task force is expected to complete its recommendations by June 30, 2009.

Read full text of the Call to Action

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

The World YWCA joins the global community in commemorating 20 years since the first World AIDS Day was observed. Although progress has been made in responding to HIV and AIDS, the challenges remain complex. Some countries have managed to lower infection rates, but progress remains uneven, as these successes are off set by increases in new infections in other regions. Today, the overall number of people living with HIV has increased, more women and children are at risk of infection, and stigma and discrimination continues to create barriers to an effective response.

Read full statement


Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year, is a unique opportunity when governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. On World AIDS Day each of us can reflect on the ways HIV and AIDS affects us personally, how it affects our local communities and country, and how we can respond to the global pandemic. You have an important part to play on that day through planning or participating in events at your church, your school, and in your community.

Read full statement


International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

As the theme of this year's World AIDS Day is focusing on leadership, we at ICW are proud to introduce a series of interviews conducted with HIV positive women from across the world, many of whom are ICW members.
Twelve women share their most painful times, their resilience, their yearnings and their passions for change. The series of interviews were conducted at the International AIDS conference in Mexico in August 2008.

Watch the videos


President of American Jewish World Service
Ruth Messinger
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"Today, the frontline of the AIDS movement is global and diverse - as are the many challenges we are confronting. AIDS carries a history of stigma and social discrimination that we must transcend if we are to respond to the pandemic with solidarity, support and compassion for the infected and affected among us. Faith communities have a special capacity to address the social barriers that have thus far prevented fully effective responses to the AIDS pandemic.

Read the full statement
More on the American Jewish World Service

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President of Caritas Internationalis
Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

“Greater leadership on HIV is still needed as we mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Despite some progress, HIV is a major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The pandemic causes incalculable human suffering. It threatens the social and economic infrastructure of the human family. More needs to be done.

Read the full statement

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Islamic Relief Worldwide
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Islamic Relief South Africa joins the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) in calling upon all to mobilise to stop the spread of the HIV epidemic. Join the world in UNIFIED action using 15 minutes (12h00 to 12h15) on World AIDS Day, Monday 1 December 2008.

Read the full statement
More on Islamic Relief Worldwide

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

"AIDS fight requires resources, even in tough times.

As we prepare to commemorate World AIDS Day on Monday, we must remember that the world is facing not only an AIDS emergency, which is killing 5,500 people a day, but also the global spread of tuberculosis, including drug-resistant strains."

Read the full statement


International Federation of Medical Students Association
Message on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008

Today, medical students globally are joining hands, raising their voices in unity and standing together in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Read the full statement (pdf, 281 Kb)