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Competition launched to counter HIV/AIDS stigma

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Wednesday launched a regional campaign to fight the stigma and discrimination surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Supported by the African Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAP+), the poster competition seeks to promote greater understanding and compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS in East Africa. Despite a number of significant achievements in HIV/AIDS research and treatment, one of the main reasons for the continuous spread of the disease was the stigma attached to it. Artists from the region are invited to submit posters addressing this problem. "The poster art is a simple means of expression accessible to everyone, an art which provides the opportunity for both children or adults, people living with HIV/AIDS or not, to come together and express their solidarity with the many people who are dying in darkness and shame", Partick Couteau, the Federation's regional health advisor, was quoted as saying. Divided into three age groups (13 to 18, 19 to 25 and 26 to 30), the competitors will present their work to a national jury. The winning artist will be offered a full scholarship to participate in the 13th International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 to 26 September, 2003. "I may sound as an old broken record when I say: we need to advocate for voluntary counselling and testing, to lobby for access to treatment and adequate legislation, to fight stigma and discrimination, but I will keep on repeating these messages until they are heard and more action is taken," the Federation’s Dorothy Odhiambo said in a statement.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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