World AIDS Day 2017 was celebrated on Friday, December 1, 2017, under the theme “Right to Health”. The National AIDS Commission launched its Francisco Caliz Unsung Hero Award and awarded six Belizean unsung heroes for their advocacy work on HIV/AIDS. The late Felix Ayuso Jr. was awarded and receiving the award was his son JoVan Ayuso.
As we all know Felix Ayuso was a prominent activist in our community and was the former chairperson of the San Pedro AIDS Commission where he devoted his time and endless love. Felix led a very successful campaign in creating awareness and educating the community about the human race’s plight against HIV and AIDS. He was the face of the AIDS Commission in San Pedro and represented the National AIDS Commission in international meets. His hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed and for this and many other reasons the National AIDS Commissions awarded our beloved Felix with this prestigious award.
National AIDS Commission Commemorates World AIDS Day 2017
On December 1, 2017, as we observe World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Commission of Belize (NAC) renews its commitment to mainstream Human Rights into all its programs and policies, as it has done with its National HIV- TB Strategic Plan 2016-2020. This year, the theme focuses on the Right to Health.
The right to health is enshrined in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as the right of everyone to the enjoyments of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to sanitation, adequate food, decent housing, healthy working conditions, a clean environment and to be treated with respect and dignity.
Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, reminds us that “all people, regardless of their age, gender where they live who they love, have the right to health.” He further stated that “no matter what their helth needs are, everyone requires health solutions that available and accessible, free from discrimination and of good quality.”
If Belize is to reach the goal of universal health coverage, we must ensure that health policies and programs promote human rights and that our most vulnerable and marginalized populations are at the center of these programs, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Testament to the National AIDS Commission of Belize’s comprehensive approach to health and human rights, is the establishment of two Human Rights Observatories equipped with attorneys to assist human rights violations. In addition, a Legal Environment Assessment has been completed which seeks to create an enabling legal and policy environment to end HIV /AIDS in Belize.
The National AIDS Commission of Belize in fulfillment of its mandate, will continue to advocate for health-related human rights, which includes the right to health, right to non-disclosure of HIV status, right to privacy and confidentiality, and the right to affordable health care that is free from discriminatory practices.
In doing so, Belize will be on track in achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals:
*By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status
*By 2020, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy
*By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
National AIDS Commission, 2 ½ Miles Philip Goldson Highway, Belize City – Tel: 223-7529/94; www.nacbelize.org