World AIDS Day: Getting to Zero


December 1 is World AIDS Day, and that is an opportunity to speak out once more about the issue of HIV/AIDS, the efforts in our state to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as present and future issues. This year the Advocacy Group on AIDS organized the following events in the name of World AIDS Day.

The kickoff of the events was given at the UN office in Armenia, where a press conference was held discussing World AIDS Day. Participating in the press conference were permanent representative of the UN to Armenia Dafina Gershwin, representative of Ministry of Health of RA Tigran Sahakyan, director of public prevention center of Ministry of Health of RA Samvel Grigoryan, “Positive People Armenian Network” NGO president Anahit Haroutunyan, Armenian Apostolic Church Araratian Patriarchal Diocese’s members who live with HIV and Narcotic Drug Users Daily Center’s president Ter Grigor Bishop Grigoryan, some local and international organizations, UN agencies and representatives of the press.

Following the press conference, in the Yerevan State University area, a march took place. The participants of the march wore “Getting to Zero” slogan t-shirts and carried posters with the following slogans on them: “It’s easier to not get infected than it is to be treated”, “0 new cases of HIV, 0 AIDS-related deaths, 0 discrimination”, “I know, I am worried, I am trying”, “Mutual commitment will stop entry of HIV into your family”, “Safe sex is my choice”, “HIV/AIDS is relevant to me, it is relevant to all”, “HIV is not transmitted through friendship”, etc. During the march, the participants also passed out informative leaflets and booklets to passers-by.

Also on December 1, the names of the winners of the “HIV/AIDS Issues Advocate 2011” award were announced. The decision was made according to majority vote, by the result of which this year’s HIV/AIDS advocates have been recognized:

  1. Public Figure: Ralph Yirikian, “Vivacell-MTS” CEO
  2. Media: hetq-online newspaper editor in chief Edik Baghdasaryan
  3. Local NGO: “Public Information and Need of Knowledge” NGO, president Mamikon Hovsepyan
  4. International organization: Open Society Foundation – Armenia, director Larisa Minasyan
  5. State institution representative: Petros Semerjyan, State Narcotic Clinic
  6. Cultural figure: DJ Vakcina.

Honorable mentions were also given to the following people for having important contribution to the issue of advocacy for HIV/AIDS.

  • Secretary of Ministry of Health Sergey Khachatryan,
  • Civil Union Alliance NGO (president Artur Potosyan),
  • State AIDS prevention center director Samvel Grigoryan,
  • Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS director Naira Sargsyan,
  • “Aravot” daily newspaper (editor in chief Aram Abrahamyan),
  • Photographer Hakob Poghosyan.

On the occasion of World AIDS day, at the Kiev branch of Haypost, a stamp was created to commemorate HIV prevention efforts. In 20 largest mail companies of the world, stamps and other philatelist materials are also being issued on the occasion of World AIDS Day. Haypost also joined this initiative and printed thirty-thousand copies of this stamp.

By evening, a public event took place near the Moscow Theater, where a multitude of prizes were laid out on tables. To receive those, passers-by had to answer the question attached to the prize. Only a few minutes after the event started, people were standing in line by the tables and everyone wanted to answer the questions to receive the prizes.

From December 2 to 10, in Yerevan’s state and private universities, “HIV/AIDS and human rights” lectures were prepared and given, in which participated more than 200 students from different universities.