Feature story

Kingston declares World AIDS Day as a commemorative day of public interest

10 November 2021

A resolution calling on the Kingston and Saint Andrew Municipal Corporation to declare World AIDS Day as a commemorative day for the City of Kingston, received unanimous approval by the City’s Councilors today.

The resolution, which reaffirms Jamaica’s commitment with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Fast Track City Initiative, and the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, resolves that on December 1st of every year, the City of Kingston, in partnership with the public and private sector and affected communities, will commemorate World AIDS Day.

The Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councilor Delroy Williams lauded the resolution as an important step towards transforming Kingston into a stigma-free city. “This resolution stems from a commitment by the Municipality to keep contributing to the end of AIDS, which will only be possible if we effectively tackle the root causes, including stigma, discrimination, and violence that put Jamaicans at risk of acquiring HIV and not adhering to their medications”, stated Mayor Williams.  

Acknowledging that “ending discrimination, stigma and marginalization will result in more persons getting tested, accessing treatment and reducing HIV in the municipality”, the resolution further resolves that “events be held each year within the Municipality of Kingston and St Andrew to raise awareness and to end discrimination, stigma, and HIV related violence”.

According to Jamaica’s latest People Living with HIV Stigma Index, launched in 2020, a third of people living with HIV have experienced at least one form of stigma and/or discrimination due to their HIV status in the last 12 months. Furthermore, more than half of the participants reported experiencing self-stigma, and the majority expressed that they find it difficult to tell others about their HIV status.

“Strong partnerships and commitments from local governments are critical to enhance our efforts to end discrimination. As we continue to work towards an equitable and enabling Jamaica for our brothers and sisters living with HIV who continue to be marginalized, I am heartened and welcome this move by the Municipality, led by the Mayor. The passing of this declaration brings awareness and local buy-in,” stated Jumoke Patrick, Executive Director of JN+.

Manoela Manova, UNAIDS Country Director, highlighted these commitments are a step in the right direction. “We have a lot of work to do to end inequalities, discrimination, and AIDS. The commitment shown by the Municipality and the Councilors, through the passing of this resolution, are both a gesture of solidarity and leadership that must be nurtured and replicated across all levels of government.”