Says World AIDS Campaign Africa Director, Linda Mafu. "Our organisation will focus on Zero AIDS Related Deaths, but the choice is there for others to pick a different zero or all three."
The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS Related Deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. A demand they honour promises like the Abuja declaration and that African Governments at very least hit agreed targets for domestic spending on health and HIV in support of the human right to the best attainable level of health care for all.
"Decision makers need to understand that people living with HIV, the marginalized, the dispossessed - all of us - want our rights." Linda Mafu adds. "I can see all sort of events on World AIDS Day. For example, marches that end in Light for Rights type actions outside Finance Ministries where beams of torchlight shine on buildings where under spending on HIV and health cost thousands of lives.
She adds "Zero New HIV Infections" and "Zero Discrimination" are equally as likely to spark high impact events from small scale community vigils to nationwide events using the universally recognised shape of zeros and the power of light to get life and death issues the attention they deserve.
Giving regions, countries and constituencies the latitude to focus on one or all of the Zeros that is most relevant to their context was central to the WAC's decision, an approach fully supported by UNAIDS. "Getting to Zero is the overall agenda for responding to HIV in the next five years, but the priority may be zero discrimination in some parts of the world and zero AIDS related deaths in some other parts—it's important to keep this connection with the local realities" said Djibril Diallo, Director of Global Outreach at UNAIDS.