…16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence launched“Today it is possible to end AIDS. It is no longer a dream, it can become a reality and UN (United Nations) Aids has set as its target ending AIDS by 2030,” shared an optimistic Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Dereck Springer.He made those remarks during the launch of ‘World AIDS Day’, which is slated for December 1 and ‘16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence’.Although Springer said AIDS can be eliminated by 2030, he noted that the goal can only be achieved if the UN’s target of 90/90/90 is gained, where 90 per cent of all persons tested HIV positive become aware of their status and of those who become aware of their status, 90 per cent of them receive treatment and remainDirector of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), Dereck Springeron treatment, where at the same time, of that 90 per cent on treatment, receive viral suppression.The Director also pointed out, “HIV is not our problem, but the socio-economic issues that put people at risk and make them vulnerable, those are the issues that we have to address and gender-based violence is one such issue…gender is a very critical component in our response to HIV”.According to him, women and girls are more vulnerable because of biology and because of the dynamics of relationships where many women are afraid to be tested for the disease because of concerns that if they test HIV positive, they can suffer both emotional and physical violence and even death at the hands of their partner.Transgender women, he said, are also vulnerable to AIDS as well as men and boys which makes it important for gender, in the context of HIV, to be brought out of isolation.World AIDS Day will this year coincide with the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence. The planned days of activism is being held under the theme ‘Orange the World #hearmetoo end violence against women and girls’.“Orange was chosen as it is a bright unifying colour which represents a future free of violence for women and girls and we say women and girls because women and girls are disproportionately affected by violence,” Deputy Programme Manager, Crime and Security, Ann-Marie Williams pointed out.She added, “The 16 Days of Activism campaign is a time to galvanise action to end violence around the world to end impunity, silence and stigma and have allowed violence against women and girls to escalade to pandemic proportions”.She said based on a United Nations (UN) report, only two countries have managed to out-law violence, while 37 countries world-wide still exempt rape perpetrators from prosecution. Additionally 49 countries across the globe have no laws protecting women and girls.The 16 Days of Activism begins on November 25 and will wind down on December 10. The period will entail International Day to End Violence against Women and girls on November 26; International Women’s Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29; and importantly December 1, World AIDS Day.This year, World AIDS Day is being held under the theme ‘Know your status’.