TAJIKISTAN NETWORK OF WOMEN LIVING WITH HIV STRIVE FOR MAKING WORLD FREE OF STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION THROUGH SUPPORTING THE “MAKE SOME NOISE FOR ZERO DISCRIMINATION” CAMPAIGN
Dushanbe, 1 March 2017 - Under the slogan “MAKE SOME NOISE FOR ZERO DISCRIMINATION”, throughthe initiative of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Tajikistan and technical support of Civil Society Organization (SCO) - “Tajikistan Network of Women living with HIV” series of information sessions and awareness raising activities on HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination (S&D) issues for the representatives of SCOs and vulnerable groups of population conducted.
For this year’s Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS drew attention to the importance of eliminating discrimination in health-care settings as a key step to ending AIDS by 2030.
In total 25 representatives of SCOs, outreach workers and vulnerable groups of population had an opportunity to discuss the issues on how to overcome existing stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, especially in health-care settings. Also, presentation on HIV-related stigma and discrimination and challenges faced by people living with HIV (PLHIV) sounded.During this event the information materials with Zero Discrimination Day messages for 2017 were disseminated among participants.
Takhmina Haidarova,Director of SCO “Network of WomenLiving with HIV/AIDS” emphasizedthat- “HIV-related stigma and discrimination refers to prejudice, negative attitudes and abuse directed at people living with HIV and AIDS. Women living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to violations of their rights. People who feel stigmatized by healthcare providers face problems getting tested for HIV and accessing healthcare services. Service providers in healthcare institutions are expected to provide social and psychological support to PLHIV, however, we witness many cases of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination amongst healthcare providers, such as breaches of confidentiality, labeling, gossip, verbal harassment, and even denial of treatment. The reduction of the HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination amongst healthcare providers will be helpful not only for the marginalized groups and PLHIV, but also for the healthcare providers themselves”.
Representatives of most-at-risk populations from the districts of the country, who also participated in the sessions, have mentioned that most of the hospital workers are not aware onwhat stigma is and why it is damaging. Another reason mentioned by participants was the high levels of fear of contagion among health workers, which is related to a lack of understanding of how HIV is and is not transmitted, and how to protect oneself in the workplace.
By the end of the event the participants have mentioned that in order to fight HIV-related stigma and discrimination in health-care settings and in society all in all, massmedia, religious and community leaders, community mobilizers and outreach workers should be involved. In particular, awareness-raising campaigns that provide information about the impacts of HIV related stigma and discrimination should be conducted to fight HIV/AIDS related S&D casesin society. Also Involving members of socially marginalized groups, who are HIV positive, also will help to address HIV-related stigma.
Information: On 1 March, Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS is urging people to make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.Zero discrimination is an integral part of UNAIDS’ vision and for this year’s Zero Discrimination Day UNAIDS is calling for zero discrimination in health-care settings. The right to health is a fundamental human right that includes access to affordable, timely and quality health-care services for all, yet discrimination remains widespread in health-care settings, creating a serious barrier to access to HIV services.
For more information, please contact: Ulugbek Aminov, UNAIDS Country Manager at: AminovU@unaids.org or Bakhtiyor Mirzoev, Advocacy and Communication Officer, UN Joint Advocacy Project on HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan at: Bakhtiyor.firstname.lastname@example.org. Also find out more at unaids.org