Presentation of the Red Ribbon Award
On her first day at AIDS 2012, the XIX International AIDS Conference, in Washington, D.C., Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit gave the keynote address at the Red Ribbon Award ceremony. In her remarks she emphasised the importance of the AIDS-related work being carried out at the grassroots level in communities all across the world.
Community mobilisation has always been at the heart of the AIDS response, said the Crown Princess in her address at the awards ceremony. She went on to speak of her visit with Manisha, an eight-year-old girl from New Delhi who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion and then subsequently developed tuberculosis.
Like many people in her situation, Manisha was on the verge of dying due to a shortage of medication. Thanks to Operation Asha, a community-based organisation, Manisha is now receiving treatment for tuberculosis.
Today we honour those who bring hope to Manisha and other people of all ages in a similar situation, said the Crown Princess, before presenting the Red Ribbon Award for the category Stopping new HIV infections in children and keeping mothers alive.
The two award winners were Global Youth Coalition against Aids in Egypt and Giramatsiko Post Test Club in Uganda.
In her remarks, the Crown Princess also mentioned that Aksept, the Norwegian community centre for people affected by HIV run by the Church City Mission Oslo, had celebrated its 25th anniversary in June.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, a UN programme for combating HIV/AIDS, also presented an award at the ceremony, as did Aung San Suu Kyi via a video address from Myanmar.
Meeting with Norwegian youth delegates
Crown Princess Mette-Marit started her day at the plenary session Turning the Tide on Transmission, where researchers, activists and UN representatives shared their findings and their reflections on the situation of women and children in the global AIDS picture.
In the afternoon, the Crown Princess met with youth representatives of Norwegian NGOs participating at the conference, including Queer Youth, Changemaker and the Norwegian Children and Youth Council. Afterwards she visited the Norwegian stand. There are roughly 60 participants in the Norwegian delegation to the conference.
Involving young people
Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been working for many years to ensure adequate youth leadership in AIDS-related work. She was a key supporter of the youth-led strategic initiative to draw up recommendations for UNAIDS to collaborate with young people on the AIDS response. After the meeting with the Norwegian delegation, the Crown Princess met with young people who had participated in drawing up the strategy recommendations to discuss the road ahead.
In the evening, the Crown Princess will attend a ceremony hosted by UNAIDS and Population Services International (PSI) to honour individuals who have made a significant contribution to combating HIV/AIDS within various fields. The Crown Princess will present the awards together with US actress and PSI Global Ambassador Debra Messing.
Today 34 million people in the world are living with HIV. 2,5 million people became infected with HIV last year. Almost half of all new HIV infections in the world are among young people under the age of 25.
The King and Queen opened the new MUNCH
"I think that I speak for all of us when I say that we have been looking forward to this day! It is finally possible for us to gather together, and soon the great doors will open up a new attraction – not just for our capital city, but for Norway, and for the world," said His Majesty The King.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia.