Fight discrimination, fight HIV/AIDS!

February 18th, 2013

According to UNAIDS “HIV-related discrimination continues to impact the lives of many people living with HIV, and still prevents millions of people from coming forward to test for HIV and access prevention and treatment services.”* This statement holds true around the world, even here in Québec, and the implications it holds for public health are diverse, particularly in terms of prevention. For example, prejudice and the discrimination it engenders can impede the proper distribution of information about the risks of transmission. Discrimination can create a climate where political bodies are not required to do their part in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It can hinder early screening, since the rejection of HIV-positive people often discourages others from wanting to learn their HIV status. Finally, discrimination impedes access to treatment.

The fight against the prejudice, stigmatization and discrimination that HIV-positive people face is also a question of social justice. Efforts to have these people’s rights respected are not only an essential part of our response to the epidemic, but also ensure that every person can fully exercise their right to health, access to employment, safety, and a meaningful place in society.

Today I would like to commend the impressive way that people living with HIV have mobilized in defense of their rights. As a result, they come closer every day to seeing these rights recognized. And as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fondation québécoise du sida, a role I’ve now held for several months, I would also like to highlight the work carried out by our recipient organizations in Québec and in the African member countries of the Coalition PLUS, in the fight against discrimination and prejudice: educating and working with political institutions, adapting resources to respond to various discriminatory situations, running public awareness as well as education campaigns, etc.

I would also like to express how critical your support is in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thank you for your generosity!

Donald Careau

*UNAIDS press release from December 10, 2012, for Human Rights Day.

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