Daw Aung San Suu Kyi opens AIDS 2014

Tracy Parish

01 December, 2013

Professor Sharon Lewin, Aung San Suu Kyi and UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé

The exquisite, historic ballroom of Government House in Melbourne was the perfect backdrop for the historic moment on World AIDS Day when Nobel Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi took to the stage to officially open the 2014 AIDS Conference.

She epitomises the global symbol of struggle against adversity, discrimination and stigma that many of the audience standing in front of her in Melbourne understood - to live with HIV or AIDS is not an easy road to travel.

Daw Suu spoke eloquently to the invited guests about her willingness to become a UNAIDS Ambassador and to strive with the global community to tackle discrimination and stigma for people living with HIV.

“This is not a problem that will be solved through discrimination,” she said.

“Often we don’t think about what it feels like for the person who is discriminated against. They are deserving of our understanding and compassion.”

“It all starts in the mind and the heart.”

Burnet’s HIV Ambassador and a member of the Positive Speakers Bureau, Deanna Blegg spoke from the heart.

“Why should we stay silent about HIV - is it from fear or fear of stigma?” she said, after talking about living for a long time with a feeling of shame until she finally confided in someone.

Deanna has been a great supporter of Burnet’s HIV research and public health work for many years and we greatly admire her and the work she is doing to break down barriers about HIV in the community.

Burnet’s Professor Sharon Lewin, the Local Co-Chair of the AIDS 2014 Organising Committee said the conference which was expected to attract more than 15,000 delegates from around the world was an unprecedented opportunity.

“This is an opportunity for Melbourne and Australia to come together and have an impact on the future of HIV/AIDS,” she said.

“We hope this conference inspires a rapid rate of research and activities that leads us to ‘Getting to Zero.”


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Tracy Parish

Executive General Manager, Marketing and Communications




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