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Region urged to end stigma and discrimination as UNAIDS and CRN+ launch new awareness initiatives

February 28, 2019

Leaving no one behind continues to be the goal of the Partnership and its stakeholders as the Region continues to focus on initiatives that ensure equal access to prevention, care, treatment, and support for vulnerable populations.

On Zero Discrimination Day, 1 March 2019, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws.  UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé called on countries to review their laws and policies to protect those vulnerable to discrimination.  “Laws should protect, not harm,” stated Sidibé, “All countries must carefully review their laws and policies to ensure equality and protection for all people, no exceptions”.

The campaign will be highlighted with social media messages from partners and stakeholders from across the region under the theme “act to change laws that discriminate”.

To maintain the momentum of ending stigma and discrimination, the Caribbean Regional Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (CRN+) will launch #UnitedPositively at the opening ceremony of the upcoming Seventh Meeting of the National AIDS Programme Managers and Key Partners, 11 March 2019.

The initiative aims to target policymakers and high-level decision makers with social media messages from People living with and affected by HIV.  Messages will illustrate how discrimination and the fear of stigma prevent vulnerable populations from accessing prevention, care, treatment, and support.

According to Jason Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer, CRN+ “Despite the gains made in relation to vulnerable populations’ access to services to achieve prevention, it is not uncommon to hear testimonials from persons within our networks who continue to not access prevention and treatment services for fear of discrimination. Hence, #UnitedPositively aims to motivate people living with or affected by HIV to advocate with policymakers to review discriminatory laws and policies that impact vulnerable populations’ access. We need to stand up as one Caribbean against stigma and discrimination”.