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By; Aloyce P Urassa

Each year on 1st December the global community commemorated the world AIDs Day setting different themes every year to raise awareness, fight stigma, campaigning for testing and calling for community action. Through commemoration of world AIDs day several stakeholders for health have been drawn into HIV/AIDs attention. Funds have been replenished and communities have had great opportunities to make a difference.
Over years, medical and health sciences students at Kilimanjaro Christian medical university college under their students organization and professional organizations as well as in partnership to neighboring colleges and universities have been greatly commemorating the Word AIDs Day.

On 1st December 2019 the students’ community in collaboration to the university staff and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre conducted a community HIV/AIDS awareness and voluntary testing in four different universities and colleges around Moshi and succeeded to test and counsel over 400 people most of them being university students.

In 2020, the event was even much better planned and commemorated. A team of 100 volunteers were recruited and trained on testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS, this team carried the role of testing and counseling for the whole week at the KCMC hospital gardens. Some students went to radio to spread more news about HIV/AIDS and another group joined the national commemorations, which also took place in Moshi. We successfully tested and counseled over 600 people. On the last day we invited experts and leaders who shared their experiences with students.

Candle lighting as a unique way of commemorating World AIDS Day at KCMUCo.

It has also been our custom prior to word AIDs Day to come together for special prayers and talks to remember those who passed away due to HIV/AIDS. This year we sat together at the Multipurpose Hall reflecting the theme: ‘ENDING THE EPIDEMIC, RESILIENCE AND IMPACT’. We had presentations and music from students. We were even more elated to have a friend living with HIV/AIDs volunteering to give a testimony about her struggles and how she manages to live away from stigma. She insisted a lot about stopping stigma against PLWHIV.

A session of prayers came up; we had a moment of silence, and then stood together for national anthem. We then had a procession from the multipurpose hall to the college garden with our candles on and mourning songs. At the garden we circled with silence then had prayers being led by the dean of students prior to closing of the event.

What does future of HIV/AIDS epidemic look like to us as health sciences students?

With ongoing efforts of scientists, leaders and communities we are with no doubt that the end to spreading of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and it’s complete elimination is soon to come. All we need is to strengthen global solidarity, get communities more engaged and supporting the efforts of young champions like health/medical students towards ending the disease and it’s impacts like stigma, poverty and the likes.