“My Health, My Right”
Around 450,000 people of Thailand’s population were living with HIV in 2016, with 6,400 people dying of AIDS related illnesses. After sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific is the region with the largest number of people living with HIV, with Thailand accounting for approximately 9%.
Today we join with our network of friends, organisations, communities and staff to acknowledge the tremendous progress made over the years to help end HIV/AIDS, with the goal to achieve the UNAIDS 90/90/90 target by 2020. Today in Thailand 91% of adults aged 15-59 are aware of their HIV status, of those 75% are on HIV treatment, of which 79% have attained viral suppression.
The theme for Worlds Aids Day 2017 is “My Health, My Right” promoting access to high-quality, safe, effective and affordable health care and wider set of rights, such as healthy working and living conditions, adequate sanitation and housing, access to nutritious food and justice.
“HIV means you’re more likely to live in poverty, more likely to have poor mental health, less likely to have access to adequate nutritional food, less likely to access medical care, and less likely to understand and assert your rights. We here at the Mercy Centre continue to fight but our fight is not just about the virus. Ignorance, discrimination and isolation limits opportunities to fully participate, preventing them from living full and happy lives. AIDS will only be overcome by our brothers and sisters who have it, they must lead the way, and we must listen and act. We all need to unite to help end the stigma, end discrimination, end HIV transmission and end the isolation felt by people living with HIV, for good. Each one of us can make a difference, so we must open our hearts and ears, as they say - a thousand candles can be lit from one single candle.” Father Joe, Director, HDF Mercy Centre
The Mercy Centre will continue to raise awareness of the role each individual and our communities play in preventing the spread of HIV. We will continue to distribute free condoms, promote free HIV testing and encourage people and their partners to know their status. We will continue to strive to educate, support and care for those infected with the support of their families and community. We will continue to advocate on the behalf of the people living with HIV/AIDS for improved health, social and economic outcomes. We will strive to end the stigma, discrimination and isolation encountered by people living with HIV/AIDS. We all benefit from a healthier and safer community.
"The heroes and heroines, the little old lady from the village who fetched soup for the sick…there were no nurses, no doctors and no hospital treatment in years past…as Elton John’s song goes:
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to know you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did
On this day, we here at Mercy Centre remember all those whom have lost their lives to AIDS and honour those working together to stop the disease. We honour the caregivers, families, communities, staff and volunteers for their dedication, compassion and tireless effort over the years. We are all the better for it.” Usanee, HIV/AIDS Outreach, HDF Mercy Centre