Mr. William Moultrie 111, Chair, CRN+ Board of Directors, 1 December 2023.
Today the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV (CRN+) commemorates World AIDS Day under the theme “Let communities lead”. It’s an emotional day to remember all those important people who we have lost and to reflect on the valuable contributions they made along their journeys. It’s also a day to think about action, to talk about the important work that still needs to be done in our communities. This theme is also important and reminds us of the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, regional and local levels.
35 years after the start of this epidemic, we today as a community, come together in solidarity for another World AIDS Day. We have come a long way and are fortunate to have achieved great progress towards eliminating HIV and AIDS. This disease is no longer seen as death sentence, however, despite the gains we have made in controlling the epidemic, there are still challenges to overcome.
“Let communities lead” speaks directly to the impactful work being done by our frontline community organizations around the region and their perseverance despite the challenges and barriers that they encounter along the way. The theme also speaks to the importance – the necessity – of the leadership voices of people living with HIV, the principles of nothing about us without us, in the provision of comprehensive programs, and community building.
The role of communities is even more important at a time when funding continues to be reduced and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. CRN+ once again renews the call for the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV (GIPA). Experiences continue to show that when communities are proactively involved in ensuring their own well-being, success is more likely. Communities have proven time and time again to be leaders in this work driving change and innovation, and they shouldn’t be hindered in those efforts; they should be supported and heralded for those efforts. Sufficient, consistent funding that ensures the continuity of community services is essential to keep organizations strong to continue meeting the needs of the people they serve.
For CRN+ the only way to achieve Ending AIDS by 2030 is with the full and equal participation of Communities.
Today, we acknowledge and celebrate the lives of people living with HIV and we express our gratitude to our community networks across the region for their continued leadership, commitment and perseverance.
Let Communities Lead and they will make the difference.
The Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV (CRN+) is the regional umbrella organisation that advocates for, and on behalf of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) and is the only organisation of its kind in the region. It is comprised of national affiliates representing the Dutch, English, French and Spanish countries in the Caribbean.
CRN+ was established in 1996 by people living with HIV (PLHIV) who were concerned about the issues facing them in the Caribbean and determined to be involved in making decisions about their future.
Learn more at: www.crnplus.com