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Sunday, May 03, 2009

TweetThis! Declaration of solidarity: The 26th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial - May 17th

Dr.Isangula Kahabi
TEL: +255732333332

May 4, 2009

Dear Honorable minister,

On May 17th, communities around the world will come together for the 26th Annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, the world’s oldest and largest grassroots movement against HIV/AIDS. Started in 1983, the historic Candlelight Memorial is a program of the Global Health Council and is led by some 1,000 organizations in over 100 countries to remember the lost, support those living with the disease, and move communities to action.

The global AIDS community and organizations coordinating the Candlelight Memorial agree that one of our greatest challenges facing the response to this issue is inadequate access to treatment, prevention, and care for people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as for those most vulnerable to its impact, like women and children. Around the globe, too few people are able to reach essential medicines, such as antiretroviral treatment, and basic prevention services, such as testing and condoms, primarily because of poverty and lack of political leadership.

As the Candlelight Memorial program’s official national coordinator for Tanzania, I am writing to humbly inquire if you will issue a clear statement to those involved in the Candlelight Memorial in our country declaring your commitment to removing the barriers that impede these live-saving services, and increasing support for those living with HIV and AIDS. The theme of the 2009 Candlelight is “Together, We Are the Solution.” Your statement would demonstrate your partnership and dedication to this issue, and inspire others to do the same.
Enclosed for your reference is the 2009 Declaration of Solidarity issued worldwide on behalf of the Candlelight Memorial program. To learn more about the Candlelight Memorial, please visit at www.candlelightmemorial.org 

Dr.Isangula Kahabi
National Coordinator
International AIDS Candlelight Memorial-Tanzania


The following statement is the official declaration of solidarity for communities participating in the 26th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, the world’s oldest community movement against HIV and AIDS. The Declaration was created by the International Advisory Board of the Candlelight Memorial program, which represents every world region, in collaboration with the Global Health Council.

AIDS is one of the world’s greatest challenges. Over the last quarter century, the disease has impacted our communities, families, economies, and millions of lives. And yet, communities worldwide are hopeful that a solution can be found. The theme for the 26th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is “Together, We Are the Solution.” The theme represents the challenges that remain and our unwavering belief that a solution is possible. The role of civil society is critical to ending HIV and AIDS, but we cannot work alone and hope is not enough. We need action, and communities and governments must work together. On behalf of the over one thousand communities in over a hundred countries participating today in the Candlelight Memorial, we declare our solidarity in the response to AIDS and recommit ourselves to the cause. We call on global leaders to hear our voices, honor pledges to give resources for HIV and AIDS, and increase access to prevention, treatment, and care. We call on national and community leaders to serve as examples and include people living with HIV and AIDS in the process of forming national programs. We call on businesses to invest in their communities and we ask institutions of faith to be more inclusive. And we call on the media to report the truth about HIV and AIDS, and help us share stories about what works. Policy must be equitable and based on evidence. Treatment must be balanced with prevention. Human rights, particularly of children, must be upheld and education must be a priority. The link between AIDS and TB, malaria, and other conditions should be promptly addressed with appropriate actions and resources, and the issue of AIDS must be addressed as part of a broader problem of poverty and development, gender inequity and sexuality, and health system reform. We must move beyond fear and ignorance, and embrace people living with HIV and AIDS by replacing stigma and discrimination with understanding and support. All of us can be a part of the solution. Learn about AIDS. Get tested. Become an advocate. Join a club or volunteer. As we gather around the world today to remember those we have lost, we stand committed to finding a solution by working together to end HIV and AIDS.
Signed by the International Advisory Board of the Candlelight Memorial program & the Global Health Council

E-mail: kaisa079@yahoo.com TEL:+255732333332/+255754030726

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