World Campaign Decides on Theme for AIDS Day 2006

Thousands of campaigners around the world are preparing local and national events to raise awareness of HIV and to call on leaders to keep the promises they have made to tackle the AIDS pandemic.

Thousands of campaigners around the world are preparing local and national events to raise awareness of HIV and to call on leaders to keep the promises they have made to tackle the AIDS pandemic.

The World AIDS Campaign recently decided on the global theme for the forthcoming World AIDS Day 2006: accountability.

The theme of accountability, with the slogan 'Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise', was chosen in consultation with civil society campaign groups to stress the critical need to meet current commitments to increase the global response to AIDS and bring universal access to treatment, care and prevention by 2010.

"Actions taken by governments this year will determine the global response to AIDS for years to come," states Marcel van Soest, Executive Director of the World AIDS Campaign.

Currently, governments are supposed to be engaged in a target-setting process for universal access, called for in a political declaration unanimously approved by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 June.

However, there have been serious questions about the lack of clarity in the process, which is due to be completed at the end of the year.

Civil society groups are maintaining pressure on governments to actively set national targets through an inclusive and transparent process.

"This World AIDS Day will show us - either we are on track to reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS, or through failed promises by individuals, communities and nations, we will continue to see HIV spread in every country," states van Soest.

World AIDS Day takes place each year on 1 December.

In India in the city of Pune, where the rate of HIV infection is twice the national average, a broad coalition of organisations and groups are planning an intensive 10-day awareness raising campaign called Wake Up Pune! including a demonstration involving over 50,000 young people on 26 November.

In South Africa the Treatment Action Campaign of South Africa plans to mobilise tens of thousands of people to march on the parliament on 1 December to demand that the promise of universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support services by 2010 is kept in South Africa and globally.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is encouraging faith communities worldwide to hold special worship services to mark World AIDS Day to raise awareness of what can be done to control the pandemic.

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