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Together we can end AIDS

Source: UNAIDS

Guests seated at the high table at the opening ceremony Left – right Dorothy Onyango Chair of the Conference, Hon. Esther Murugi Minister for Special Programmes, Prof Mary Getui, Chair National AIDS Control Council, Ms. Maya Haper UCC – Kenya, Ms Harriet Kongin – Head Stakeholder Coordination at NACC and Prof. Alloys Orago – Director National AIDS Control Council

The 13th October 2011, marked an important milestone in the Kenyan National HIV Response. Over 200 women living with HIV from all corners of the country who had participated in a two-day leadership Conference for Women Living with HIV committed themselves to champion the campaign to end AIDS in Kenya. The premier conference was organized by Women Living with HIV, under the Joint auspices of the National AIDS Control Council and the Network of People Living with HIV in Kenya and with support from the UN Joint Team on AIDS.

In her opening remarks, the Minister in the Office of the President, in charge of Special Programmes where the National HIV response is coordinated, Hon Esther Murugi reiterated “the urgent need to develop strong leadership of women living with HIV to take the reins to end AIDS”. The conference theme “Championing Women Leadership to AIDS” centered around three key thrusts of Women’s leadership to create a social movement and community action for HIV Prevention; Women’s political leadership to exploit opportunities the new constitution and devolution offers and Women’s leadership to improve uptake and delivery of services. The conference culminated in a colorful award ceremony for women living with HIV who championed initiatives to address HIV and whose efforts contributed immensely to the current HIV response. The awardees were drawn from all regions of the country and included living with disabilities. The closing ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Development, Hon Dr. Naomi Shabaan who in celebrating the awardees urged them to “continue to mentor others and together we will end AIDS”

Top on the post conference agenda is the commitment of the women to accelerate the elimination of Mother to child transmission (eMTCT) Campaign. This was ignited by a young 20 year old woman born with virus who said her one wish in her lifetime was to experience a life without HIV! The conference has triggered a renewed commitment and has created a reenergized social movement by and for women to catalyse actions to end AIDS!

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