Dr. César Núñez
Regional Director of UNAIDS for Latin America and the Caribbean
GLOBAL SOLIDARITY, SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
The year 2020 is certainly a year that will not be forgotten.
In the future, each and every one of us will certainly remember where we were, what obstacles we overcame, and how much the COVID-19 pandemic made us change.
For those of us familiar with recent human history, it is easy to remember how difficult it was when HIV was first discovered – the AIDS epidemic that started 40 years ago. Remember how difficult it was to see thousands of people die almost without explanation, losing their lives first because we did not have the skills to respond, the tools to prevent. And then for our lack of understanding, respect for the compassion and solidarity that we must have with all people.
If we can take an important lesson about what we are facing today in the 21st century regarding the COVID-19 epidemic, this lesson is certainly related to global solidarity and shared responsibility. The exact same lesson we have in our minds, history books and personal lives regarding AIDS.
As we celebrate World AIDS Day this December 1, 2020, I would like to invite you to reflect on the following: how have you stood in solidarity with those who needed support in times of COVID-19? With your family, with the people in your neighbourhood, at your job, at school, in your community, in your city, in your country, on your planet...
Four decades ago, we began to accumulate important lessons from the HIV epidemic, but we seem to have failed to learn it all ... or at least we have not learned enough about how to use solidarity as part of our routine, as part of our daily decisions.
It is our responsibility, individual and shared, to reflect on our roles as citizens, as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, teachers, decision makers, experts ... to reflect on our roles as human beings in society ...
I would like to echo the words of UNAIDS Executive Director, Ms. Winnie Byanyima, who said that she is very proud that during the past year the HIV movement has mobilized to defend our progress, protect women, people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups and to roll back the coronavirus. I could not agree more with her.
It is the strength of communities, inspired by a shared responsibility among all, that has contributed greatly to our victories over HIV.
I invite you once again to let this force inspire us to move forward and overcome the barriers that lie ahead.
Let us join in solidarity with all those who need our support and use this movement wisely as our inspiration to be able to move forward and leave no one behind, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.