USAID and ULE “Central Asian Association of People Living with HIV” held a regional meeting on February 11-12, 2016, to discuss the problem of stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV in the Central Asian region as part of the USAID Project “Leader People living with HIV. ”
The regional meeting was attended by representatives of state, international and public organizations, including the Ministry of Health, the Republican AIDS Centers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, USAID, UNAIDS, UN-Women, as well as experts from the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH.
The results of the research “Stigma Index” were discussed at the regional meeting. The research was conducted for the first time by CAA PLHIV in three countries of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by the community of PLWH with the participation of international experts. The results of the study showed that the level of stigma and self-stigma among HIV-positive people in the region remains high. The stigma and discrimination of PLHIV continue to be one of the significant barriers to universal access to treatment and care services. The problem of stigmatization and discrimination of PLHIV by partners and the nearest social environment, as well as by medical institutions deserves serious attention. Special support is required by people who live with HIV for less than 4 years. The greatest stigma and discrimination are experienced by PLHIV – former and current injecting drug users and people with non-traditional gender identities.
“The stigma and discrimination of PLHIV today not only violate the fundamental human rights foundations, they are also factors in the spread of HIV infection and the main barriers to access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in sphere of HIV, as well as to any medical, social, legal and other services. Eliminating the phenomena of stigma and discrimination is the key task of the strategy “In the direction of the Goal” Zero “, says Nurali Amanzholov, President of the Central Asian.
March 23-25, 2016 in Moscow will host the Fifth Conference on HIV / AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where, along with current topics related to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention, stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV will be discussed. Delegates from the Central Asian region, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, will also take part in the work of the high-level forum. Delegates from communities are ready to share their experience in solving problems related to stigma and discrimination.
At the regional meeting, each country delegation adopted a strategic plan and priority objectives to combat stigma and discrimination, which will ultimately help in efforts to protect the rights and interests of people living with HIV.