Sierra Leone: Broadcast Day Message By H. E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Chairman of the National HIV/Aids Commission to Commemorate World Aids Day - Saturday, December 1, 2012

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Fellow Citizens.

Today, December 1, 2012 marks yet another World AIDS Day, a day we continue to commemorate and to demonstrate our commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS. It is a great honor for me to address the nation today on an issue that is very pertinent to our economic growth, prosperity and survival as a nation.

Fellow Citizens. The Global Theme for this year's commemoration is "Getting to the Three Zeros by 2015. That is Zero New HIV Infections, Zero HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths. We can achieve this goal by collectively harnessing the full power of our will and the full engagement of our partnership with civil society and our development partners.

I am pleased to inform the nation that HIV/AIDS will continue to be one of the key issues on my Government's Development Agenda. As long as we have Sierra Leoneans infected and affected by HI/AIDS, we will continue to remind ourselves that the struggle against HIV/AIDS is far from over. Our national HIV prevalence has stabilized at 1.5% over a four-year period and we are today witnessing a decline in the infection rate among our pregnant women.

In 2010, we won the MDG award for our effort and commitment as a nation to address HIV/AIDS. In January 2013, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe will represent Africa on the UNAIDS Programme Coordination Board for the next three years. This is the highest decision making body for the global response to HIV/AIDS.

Fellow Citizens. Funds for the global fight against HIV/AIDS are decreasing. This is a serious challenge, and our country must be prepared to meet this challenge by raising funds locally, sharing costs and partnering with the private sector. We need to strengthen or partnerships with civil society and the private sector in the financing and delivery of HIV/AIDS services to our people. is struggle.

As a Government, we will remain committed for a well governed HIV response. I urge our mothers and fathers to be accountable to their children to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to their unborn. Our young men and young women, who we look up to for future leadership should be accountable to each other for responsible relationships. To be serious about zero new HIV infections in our country, we must not only prevent HIV infection but also care for those infected

Fellow Citizens. On this day today, I urge all Sierra Leoneans and our partners to join the Government in remembering those of our compatriots who have lost their lives to AIDS, and to recommit ourselves to preventing HIV/AIDS as well as comforting those infected and their loved ones. I therefore encourage all Sierra Leoneans to go out in their large numbers and take advantage of the HIV/AIDS services provided by the Government and our partners.

I would like to end by thanking all our development partners both bi and multilateral including the Global Fund and our UN Partners, who continue to provide support to our efforts in combating the disease. I would also like to register Government's appreciation to the Network of HIV Positives and all Sierra Leoneans who have remained committed to the cause of fighting HIV/AIDS and its injustices. HIV/AIDS is all about people and we should all remain united to fighting this disease.

I thank you all and God Bless Sierra Leone.

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