World AIDS Day

The theme of World AIDS Day this year, held annually on December 1st, was “Getting to Zero” which came from UNAIDS vision of “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.” The Kenya World AIDS Day event was held in Kisumu but the Ministry of Health also organized an event for Nairobi held in town. The event started in Uhuru Park where attendees gathered to walk together to the main venue. The aim of the event was to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, while setting a goal to bring HIV infection down to zero.

Community Health Workers from Shining Hope attended the event and were impressed by the turnout. People from all over Nairobi were present, with many large organizations in attendance. Skits were performed and poems were read, all related to how important it is to protect yourselves and your partners from HIV/AIDS. Government officials made speeches, sending an important message to all who were there: it is our responsibility to protect ourselves from HIV, to know our own and our partners’ status, and to take care not to infect other people.

It is important to continue creating awareness about HIV and to share practical information about HIV prevention. In 2010, UNAIDS reported that 1.5 million in Kenya are living with HIV with an annual infection rate of around 100,000*. Shining Hope CHWs felt strongly about attending the event, as HIV is something they frequently deal with in Kibera and want to continue educating people about. Shining Hope runs an HIV/AIDS support group, the Post-Test Club, whose members also attended the World AIDS Day event. Head CHW, Maggie, said the people in the Post-Test Club were excited about an event targeting HIV/AIDS and it was empowering for them to see how many people were there.

The event was a success and inspired the CHWs to hold their own World AIDS Day event next year in Kibera!

People march from Uhuru Park for World AIDS Day