Today, March 1st 2016, the International Community of Women Living
with HIV (ICW) joins UNAIDS, other stakeholders and communities particularly
women living with HIV to mark Zero Discrimination Day.
UNAIDS has outlined within the fast track strategy an ambitious agenda to end AIDS
and achieve ZERO DISCRIMINATION that requires prioritization, investment and
support from national leaders around the world. Indeed, the success of the
Sustainable Development Goals rests on our ability as a global community to
effectively eliminate stigma and discrimination. This rings true particularly
for SDG-Goal 3 on Health which seeks, in part, to reduce maternal mortality,
end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; strengthen substance abuse treatment and
ensure access to quality health care services including reproductive health
care services such as family planning; and SDG-Goal 5 on Gender Equality which
seeks to end all discrimination against women and secure sexual and reproductive
health and rights for all.
Lived experiences and evidence from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index both
indicate that legal and social environments, as well as service providers and
healthcare settings are still failing to address stigma and discrimination
against people living with HIV and those most vulnerable to HIV infection.
Discrimination is not only a violation of human rights, but has been evidenced
to negatively influence uptake and retention to HIV prevention, care, and
Women living with HIV from around the world, have spoken out about the severe
and persistent experiences of stigma and discrimination we face in our
communities, workplaces and even in health care settings. Experiences of
stigma and discrimination can have dangerous impacts on health outcomes
for women living with HIV and can result in human rights violations ranging
from forced and coerced sterilization, to refusal to provide services,
stigmatization at hospitals by hospital staff, breaches of confidentiality,
and testing for HIV without informed consent. Many of these violations
occur during the provision of health services and are perpetrated by health
Globally, countries continue to have laws and policies criminalizing same-sex
sexual relations, sex work, drug use, and HIV transmission. Punitive laws
and non-progressive legal environments often alienate key populations,
particularly female sex workers, undermining their abilities to seek HIV
prevention interventions to protect themselves and their clients. Respect
for and protection of human rights is critical for effective global and
national responses to HIV.
Under the theme ‘transform and stand out for zero discrimination’, this day
is an opportunity for stakeholders including governments, healthcare providers,
and medical professionals to renew their commitment towards investing in
interventions to appreciate all diversity and to ensure zero discrimination
for people living with HIV and key populations.
Today, ICW calls on governments, policy makers, programmers and health care
institutions to invest in interventions that seek to promote the realization
of human rights and to eliminate discriminatory laws and practices. We
believe this is critical for realizing the ambitious Sustainable Development
Goals and the targets set out under the FAST TRACK STRATEGY for ending
AIDS by 2030.
We strongly believe there is no ending AIDS by 2030 without making deliberate
efforts to respect human rights, and to create an enabling environment
in which every woman and girl, particularly those living with HIV in all
our diversity, can actively contribute to HIV prevention and treatment.
LET US ALL STAND UP TO DEMAND ZERO DISCRIMINATION!
NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US.
Read the full statement here