For Immediate Release Contact: Jen Heitel Yakush
December 1, 2011 202.265.2405 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to Zero by Creating the First-Ever Sexually Healthy Generation
Statement of SIECUS President and CEO, Monica Rodriguez, on World AIDS Day 2011
“As advocates working towards a world without HIV/AIDS, each World AIDS Day at SIECUS is a somber occasion for us to take stock as an organization and a society in what we have achieved and where we have fallen short over the past year. It is also an opportunity to pause in our work and reflect on and reaffirm our commitment to our mission. This year’s World AIDS Day theme—“Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths”—is one our mission-driven organization wholeheartedly supports. And a goal we know we can achieve. In order to do so, we must create the first sexually healthy generation in the United States and around the globe.
As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for the creation of an “AIDS Free Generation,” we at SIECUS want to do this within the context of creating the first-ever sexually healthy generation. The World Health Organization definition states, “Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.” Only when sexual health is more widely understood as focused on positive benefits and not simply about mitigating harm will people of all ages have greater options for achieving their own personal sense of sexual health and well-being. Today, we have the opportunity to foster the first generation of sexually healthy adults.
To Get to Zero and create the first Sexually Healthy Generation, we must work at the intersection of and actively engage with all the relevant communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We must also address such related issues as the health and rights of socially and economically disenfranchised populations and finally putting an end to racial and ethnic health disparities and discrimination.
For 48 years, SIECUS has worked to create a world that ensures sexual rights and social justice. We can achieve the goal of Getting to Zero by creating the first generation of sexually healthy people. We have the vision, the tools, and the determination. And we call on our domestic and world leaders to follow through with the political resolve and public resources. Now is the time to make the vision of sexual rights and social justice a reality.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. Throughout our 48 years, SIECUS has effectively advocated for the right of all people to accurate information about sexuality and sexual health, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services. We work to create a world that ensures sexual rights and social justice.