Garcia works on information and education to eliminate HIV stigma

Seville, September 15 (European News Agency) –

Health and Consumer Affairs Secretary Catalina Garcia has chosen education and information as the “best weapons” to end the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV. “Together we must remove these social barriers, because without them the response to the virus will be more effective,” he argued in a speech at the high-level meeting (RAN) in Seville on the occasion of the Spanish presidency. say. Council of Europe, whose motto is HIV and human rights: zero stigma.

The conference, titled Eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3 in the EU by 2030 within a global health framework, was attended by nearly 140 people from across the EU’s HIV work areas Meeting. The European Union (EU), EU Member States, international organizations such as the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the World Health Organization (WHO/Euro) and the United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS); national, regional and municipal governments, scientific associations, Non-profit organizations and civil society.

The conference opened with a first session to discuss political responses by EU member states to combat HIV-related stigma and discrimination, with Spanish Health Minister José Manuel Miñones and Hungarian Health Minister Peter Takács and representatives of other international and European organizations as well as the Mayor of Seville, José Luis Sanz; Minister of Health Silvia Carlson; Director of Public Health Pilar Aparicio; as the Board of Directors said in a statement Jorge del Diego, Director of the Andalusian Public Health and Drug Regulatory Authority.

The Andalusian consultant laments that “despite huge advances in prevention and treatment, people living with HIV still face an additional burden of stigma and discrimination.” To this end, he argues, “In the face of Society as a whole must respond to these negative and prejudicial attitudes that arise from a lack of information, fear of the unknown and the persistence of unfounded myths about the spread of HIV.”

Therefore, Garcia chose to promote public health because “to control the spread of HIV, it is critical that people trust health services to get tested”; create a healthy environment where people living with HIV do not have to live in fear, and of course, Also to “create education and awareness about HIV and eliminate attitudes and prejudices.”

The head of health and consumer affairs also added to promote equality and human rights “because every person, regardless of their serological status, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect”; and prevention. He added: “We must work together, and my department is committed to this, so that society remembers that HIV and its consequences are still very much alive.”

Last year, 560 cases were detected in Andalusia, and by the first half of 2023, 250 cases had been registered. During both periods, approximately 85% of those affected were men and 15% women. “There are still many cases, so we must work harder on prevention and health promotion,” he stressed.

However, Garcia explained that Andalusia is the first autonomous region to achieve the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS in 2021 (90% of people living with HIV diagnosed and 90% on antiretroviral therapy With viral therapy, 90% of people have suppressed viral loads).

“The Andalusian HIV Cascade is a tool that monitors the HIV epidemic and is used to evaluate the policies adopted to stem the epidemic and to monitor whether the set goals are achieved. We are the first autonomous community to publish these results and we It’s also done by population subtypes,” he elaborated before declaring that “we’re working hard to get to the 95-95-95 goal as quickly as possible.”

The consultant concluded that “society as a whole faces challenges in the form of stigma and discrimination. This stigma not only perpetuates ignorance and misinformation, but also makes it difficult for people to seek diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

So, after remembering that “HIV does not discriminate between gender, race, sexual orientation or social class,” he insisted that “each of us has a role to play in building a society free of stigma.” And around HIV discrimination. Together, we can change the lives of many and create a more inclusive and healthy future for all. “

Jorge del Diego, together with Viatcheslav Grankov of the World Health Organization/European Organization, moderated a panel titled “Addressing HIV-related stigma in healthcare settings” and discrimination” meeting, officials from Global HIV Program attended Hepatitis and Sexual Behavior WHO/Europe and the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Transmitted Infections.

Likewise, Teresa Campos, Head of the Coordination Department of the General Administration of Public Health and Drug Supervision, chaired the roundtable of the same name, which was also attended by representatives of the Medical University of Pomerania (Poland); from the Medical Research Center of the University of Hamburg-Eppendorf ( Germany); GAT from Portugal/Coalition Plus; Spanish Interdisciplinary AIDS Society (Seisida); Research Group GeSIDA and Fast Track Cities Project from the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC).

The high-level European meeting in Seville comes a year after the Andalusian capital hosted the Fast Track Cities Conference, a network of more than 380 cities and municipalities from signatories to the Paris Declaration aimed at Promote responses to HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis. They are also involved in efforts to eradicate inequality, social marginalization and stigma as part of a wider social transformation agenda to make cities and municipalities inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

Source link

Leave a Comment