The world’s largest HIV forum; ‘The International AIDS Conference, was held in Mexico City from August 3-8 this year.
Leaders, policymakers, academics, scientists and activists from around the world congregated for the conference, under the theme, “Universal Action Now!”
Which called for a renewed commitment from the international community to strengthen efforts at HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes worldwide.
Aimed at providing universal access to these services by 2010 and to work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals – which also target the halting of the spread of HIV by 2015.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, reporting manual on HIV/AIDS of December 2007, 6,800 individuals worldwide are infected with HIV daily. More than 5,700 die from AIDS related illnesses.
Sub- Saharan Africa continues to be the most heavily impacted region of the world with AIDS as the primary cause of death.
Statistics from the UNAID’S 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic indicate that of the 33 million adults and children living with HIV, 22 million are found in Sub Saharan Africa. Approximately 20 million children world-wide have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
In Sub Saharan Africa alone, over 12 million children have been orphaned by the pandemic. Children affected by this pandemic find themselves particularly vulnerable and have no means of voicing their despair.
To address this need, François Xavier Bagnoud International (FXB) declared the World AIDS Orphans Day; a worldwide advocacy event to protect these vulnerable and under-privileged children.
During the World AIDS Orphans Day which is celebrated on May 7th, FXB encourages supporters to focus public and media attention on the plight of vulnerable children and the consequences of their social and economic exclusion.
During this day, supporters are also urged to lobby governments to consider these vulnerable children as a priority ensuring that urgent measures are taken to reintegrate them back into the society.
The establishment of the World AIDS Orphans Day is just one of many initiatives FXB has embarked on to achieve the MDG target of halting the spread of HIV by 2015.
Another notable and more recent achievement has been the establishment of 28 FXB-Villages, 12 of which are in Rwanda.
The FXB-Village model is a ‘low-cost, sustainable, community-based program to help families and communities respond to poverty, AIDS and the rising number of orphaned and vulnerable children.’
These villages aim to strengthen families’ capacities to improve their living conditions by providing a comprehensive and integrated package of support to needy families to help them get back on their feet.
To select beneficiaries, FXB works closely with basic administrative authorities, heads of PLWHA associations, heads of community groups, among other stakeholders.
FXB International is a non governmental organization that has been in operation in Rwanda since 1995. Its headquarters are based in Switzerland and it has branches in 18 countries worldwide.