Science, spirituality and health in the AIDS response

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Science, spirituality and health in the AIDS response

09 July 2013

L to R: UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance, Jan Beagle; His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; and UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Luiz Loures. Credit: UNAIDS

The Indian spiritual leader and peace ambassador, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar made an official visit to UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva on 2nd July 2013 to engage with staff and guests on issues around science, spirituality and health in responding to HIV.

HH Sri Sri’s remarks centred on a number of key issues including HIV prevention, sexual and gender based violence, community mobilization, and stigma and discrimination. He said, “The noble cause is to stop HIV in our generation. It was discovered in our generation and it must end with our generation––we must not see it go on to the next. We must learn from the past, live in the present and influence the future.”  

He stressed that collective action was required to mould and sustain optimal governance structures, enhance social justice and address prejudice. He also urged society to be guided by the identity of being human and a global sense of belonging.

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a longstanding AIDS advocate who has been instrumental in engaging diverse faith-based leaders in the AIDS response. In 2008 and again in 2010, he convened high level Inter-faith Religious Leaders’ Summits on HIV. He also co-chaired the High Level Religious Leaders’ Summit on HIV in the Hague in 2010. His non-governmental organisation, the Art of Living Foundation has been instrumental in India in mobilizing public opinion for change, standing up to violence and changing laws. 

Dr Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme thanked His Holiness for his remarks and reaffirmed that a people centred approach, including young people was essential. He concluded that the engagement of leaders like His Holiness was paramount in ensuring that “no-one is left behind” in the response to HIV.