On 1st December 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO), along with community members and partners, will commemorate World AIDS Day. The official WHO World AIDS Day 2023 event, themed “Let communities lead”, will be held in Geneva. In addition to Geneva, WHO has announced two other events in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls and Harare.
Following the World AIDS Day activities in Zimbabwe, the 22nd edition of the largest HIV conference in Africa, ICASA, will take place from 4th to 9th December in Harare. Consistent with the theme, the event will highlight the power of communities leading the HIV response. Attendees in Harare will visit a community-led initiative to improve access to services in the afternoon.
As the HIV conference in Africa follows the World AIDS Day events in Zimbabwe, WHO will also play a leading role in the conference. This includes participating in the opening ceremony, organising 10 satellite sessions, and interacting with communities and people affected by HIV.
Communities affected by HIV, networks of key populations, and youth leaders are critical for progress in the HIV response. They provide vital prevention, testing, and treatment support services, foster trust, create innovative solutions, promote health, monitor policy and program implementation, and hold providers accountable. Given the high impact of the pandemic in Africa, WHO believes that communities can end AIDS. Therefore, this year’s World AIDS Day theme is ‘Let communities lead’. It is more than a celebration of community achievements; it is a call to action to empower and support communities in their leadership roles.
The main event in Geneva will begin with the opening and candlelight ceremony. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, will deliver a World AIDS Day message. Additionally, Dr. Jérôme Salomon, the Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, will present on Public Health Milestones on HIV & AIDS in the context of the WHO 75th Anniversary. In the afternoon, visitors will go to Checkpoint Genève, a community-led initiative offering access to HIV services. However, Dr. Jérôme Salomon’s field visit to the community-led service will not be open to the public.