An enabling environment for vulnerable groups to access HIV prevention and treatment without the associated fear of stigma and discrimination, has been crafted by the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS [PANCAP].
This is according to PANCAP Director, Dereck Springer. He said that PANCAP recently finalised this Regional Advocacy Strategy and five-year Implementation Plan.
This plan, Springer revealed, is intended to cater to a coordinated and streamlined approach for systems advocacy, access to justice and redress, community and health services, and financing and sustainability.
Springer noted that “a PANCAP message has been developed for each strategy [and] included in these is the Right to Health.”
He made these remarks in a message to mark World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day was observed annually across the world yesterday to recognize those infected and affected by the disease, and also those who have been helping to put measures in place to reduce its prevalence.
‘Right to Health’ is the theme being embraced for this year’s observance.
Considering the UNAIDS-selected theme, Springer said, “I salute UNAIDS’s choice of the World AIDS Day theme…”
This is in light of Springer’s belief that the theme is even more relevant today since advances in treatment have brought HIV [the virus that causes AIDS] into the realm of chronic diseases.
Currently, some persons living with HIV also have to deal with other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. These developments, Springer said, warrant a comprehensive approach to delivering health care to persons living with HIV.
He said that the universal and undeniable right to health provides everyone with the right to realize the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination or stigma.
Springer observed that UNAIDS has acknowledged that only by placing human rights at the centre of global health that “we can ensure that health care is accessible, acceptable, available and of good quality for everyone, leaving no one behind.”
PANCAP, according to Springer, has long recognised the critical need to situate access to health within a human rights framework. This, he said, is reflected in PANCAP’s Justice for All programme which focuses on affirming human rights and reducing stigma and discrimination that hinder people living with HIV and other key population groups’ access to health care services.
The UNAIDS theme also acknowledges that the Sustainable Development Goals, underpinned by human rights, provide a framework to leverage opportunities between the right to health and other rights, including the right to education, equality, non-discrimination, access to justice, privacy and food.
“Our regional Partnership has collectively committed to be guided by our Regional Advocacy Strategy, the framework for advancing our advocacy efforts to work toward creating an enabling environment for people living with HIV and key populations to realize the highest attainable standard of health without stigma or discrimination.
“Like you, they too have a right to health,” Springer asserted.
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