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Speech

PANCAP Directors’ Message on the occasion of 2017 World AIDS Day Observance

I salute UNAIDS’ choice of the World AIDS Day theme – ‘Right to Health’. This theme is even more relevant today since advances in treatment have brought HIV into the realm of chronic diseases as persons living with HIV are now having to deal with other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. These developments, therefore, warrant a comprehensive approach to delivering health care to persons living with HIV.

The universal and undeniable right to health provides everyone with the right to realize the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination or stigma. UNAIDS acknowledges that only by placing human rights at the centre of global health can we ensure that health care is accessible, acceptable, available and of good quality for everyone, leaving no one behind.

The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) has long recognised the critical need to situate access to health within a human rights framework. This is reflected in our Justice for All programme which focuses on affirming human rights and reducing stigma and discrimination that hinder people living with HIV and other key population groups’ access to health care services.

PANCAP has recently finalised its Regional Advocacy Strategy and five-year Implementation Plan for a coordinated and streamlined approach for systems advocacy, access to justice and redress, community and health services and financing and sustainability that will assist in creating an enabling environment for vulnerable groups to access HIV prevention and treatment without the fear of stigma and discrimination. A PANCAP message has been developed for each strategy. Included in these messages is the Right to Health.

The UNAIDS theme also acknowledges that the Sustainable Development Goals, underpinned by human rights, provide a framework to leverage opportunities between the right to health and other rights, including the right to education, equality, non-discrimination, access to justice, privacy and food.

Our regional Partnership has collectively committed to be guided by our Regional Advocacy Strategy, the framework for advancing our advocacy efforts to work toward creating an enabling environment for people living with HIV and key populations to realize the highest attainable standard of health without stigma or discrimination. Like you, they too have a right to health.