"The world has come out the darkness caused by HIV/AIDS and is looking ahead for a bright future," said 12-year-old Elias Alemayehu.
Elias, the winner of a youth poster competition, expressed this view of the world at the World AIDS Day poster competition held on December 1, 2008 at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto.
Forty-five top student artists, ages 10-14, from nine private and public schools, joined Elias to share their visions of life through art at the poster competition. The contest, organized around the theme "Celebrate Life," provided an opportunity for the young participants to share their perceptions about HIV/AIDS. Three years ago, treatment was provided to less than 6,000 people living with HIV in Ethiopia, but today with support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), more than 110,000 patients benefit from free antiretroviral treatment services.
Local Ethiopian and American artists selected the winners of the poster competition - a difficult task, since all the posters were artistic and meaningful.
Speaking at the World AIDS Day poster competition, U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto encouraged the students to be responsible citizens and work hard towards an HIV-free future.
Following the contest, the Ambassador gave the students a tour of his residence, which houses both American and Ethiopian artwork.
The top three winning posters will be sent to Washington to be displayed in an exhibition with works of other winners from different PEPFAR partner countries.
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