COLOMBO 1 December: Sri Lanka’s national ‘Roadmap to End AIDS by 2025’ was launched amidst large crowds at the Campbell Park, Colombo on 1st December 2016 commemorating the World AIDS Day after an awareness walk participated by thousands of people.
UNFPA Sri Lanka staff supported the walk by carrying trilingual banners displaying the slogan ‘Zero discrimination, zero infections, zero deaths; 2025 AIDS-free country’. The walk commenced at the Ministry of Health and ended at the Campbell Park, two kilometers away.
Three cycle parades travelling from Panadura, Ja-ela and Biyagama distributed leaflets on their way to the park, to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. Participants of the walk wore the red ribbons and coloured their palms in red to honour the theme ‘Hands up for HIV Prevention. The ‘National Response to HIV/AIDS 2016’ was also launched at the rally.
Addressing the rally, UNFPA Representative of Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alain Sibenaler said, “Sri Lanka is a country which has policies and strategies in place in order to reach the sustainable development goals including goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being. The country has ambitious plans under which the international goal post of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030 has been brought forward to 2025. I have been further informed that plans are afoot to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by the end of 2017. UNFPA will continue to support Sri Lanka to achieve these targets. We will be your go-to partner in shaping the Sri Lankan policies in terms of reproductive health rights of the people to achieve the targets of SDGs.”
Dr. Palitha Mahipala, Director General of Health Services, Dr. Sisira Liyanage, Director National STI/AIDS Control Programme, Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, Representative of World Health Organization and other dignitaries were also present at the rally.