World AIDS Day 2011 – getting to zero

01/12/2011

Today is World AIDS Day – a day that reminds us that HIV/AIDS has not gone away, and that there are many things that still need to be done. The theme of this year is ‘Getting to Zero’.

Read ILGA-Europe's statement here

Today, the European Parliament took a clear stand by adopting a resolution on combatting HIV/AIDS. The resolution calls on the Member States to take all necessary action to end discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and to promote and protect all human rights as an effective response to combat HIV/AIDS.

In June 2011, World Health Organisation stated that there is a rise of HIV infections among men who have sex with men and trans people in the recent years. One of the reasons of this increasing trend is stigmatisation and discrimination that they face in their daily life. There is an urgent need to address these issues as prevention method in combatting HIV/AIDS.

LGBTI people infected with HIV/AIDS, may be turned away from health care services, denied housing and employment, shunned by their friends and colleagues, turned down for insurance coverage or refused entry into foreign countries. In some cases, they may be evicted from home by their families, left by their partners, and suffer physical violence.

In many European countries, school curriculums do not include education on sexual and reproductive health. This can result in a gap of information on risks related to unsafe sex. In addition, the fact that LGBTI issues are often entirely excluded from the curriculum hinders tackling stigmatisation experienced by LGBTI people.

When accessing healthcare, LGBTI people fear to be open about their sexual orientation and gender identity due to a higher risk of facing discriminatory practices. This including the lack of relevant information on sexual reproduction makes it very difficult to fight adequately against the rise of HIV infections. In addition, LGBTI people with HIV/AIDS living in a context that differs from their social, cultural, ethnic and religious background are more likely to be victims of multiple discrimination. This possible stigma needs to be addressed and taken into consideration when developing preventive campaigns against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

How can we get to zero?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) underlined that stigma and discrimination are two major barriers to an effective HIV/AIDS prevention. They recommended that there is a need to develop anti-discrimination laws and measures to protect human rights and to establish more inclusive services for LGBTI people based on their right to health and other services.

ILGA-Europe has identified that there is a need…

  • to upscale education on sexual and reproductive health as a preventive measure for combatting spread of HIV.
  • for more leadership at the European level in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as European solidarity and a strong commitment to the global fight, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups such as LGBTI people. ILGA-Europe welcomes the Resolution of the European Parliament adopted today, which calls for such a commitment.
  • to increase the effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs by targeting people with multiple discriminated identities.

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Read the full text of the adopted resolution from the European Parliament here

Find the press release from WHO here

If you organise events around the World AIDS Day and want to let other know, please publicise them also on in our Country-by-Country section.

More information is available about World AIDS Day 2011 and the world wide campaign on the website of World AIDS Campaign.

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