01 December 2015
The fight against HIV AIDS has been going on for a while and we need to acknowledge that significant progress has been made over the years since its first case detection back in 1987 in Seychelles. People living with HIV can access freely antiretroviral therapy and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme has proven to be very effective, amongst other achievements. However we all know HIV AIDS remain a disease burden and the prevalence is reportedly among key populations. Hepatitis C virus is also on the increase not forgetting other sexual transmitted infections especially among our young people.
Getting to zero new infections, zero new AIDS related deaths and zero discrimination will not be achievable if do not meet the health needs of key populations. They are often among the most marginalized, stigmatized and underserved people. There are legal and social issues relating to their behavior that increase their vulnerability to HIV and other STIs. They face persistent discrimination and are often excluded from services to a healthy life and well being. Disregarding their needs and rights is not the way to go. Meaningful engagement of Key populations and young people is crucial and when it comes to policy making it should not only be at preliminary and middle planning level.
Our response needs to be rights-based with a multi-sectoral approach if we truly want to reach our objectives. People who inject drugs, the LGBT community, sex workers, and adolescents have rights and need to access equal and equitable services. Let us have a collective platform of effective discussions and dialogues. Let us stop punishing and let’s look at those punitive laws that consistently violate human rights. The way we communicate, disseminate information and educate our people must be simple, applicable and sincere. It will be a lost battle fighting against the spreading of HIV AIDS without the right leadership.
On this 2015 World AIDS Day let us all renew and reiterate our commitments and let us explore more innovative ways so that we can reach the getting to zero targets.
Together, we can achieve!!