The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
NEWS & VIEWS
Campaign promotes human rights, aims to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination in St. Kitts and Nevis
Posted September 4, 2012
Photo: Facilitators Teddy Leon and Rachel Charles led 25 small group and community consultations and hosted radio call-in programs on human rights and stigma and discrimination throughout the Equality for All campaign. The campaign reached between 15,000-20,000 residents from July 9-20, 2012. Photo by Health Policy Project.
BASSATERRE—The National AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Health and Environment in St. Kitts and Nevis conducted an “Equality for All” campaign in July to promote the human rights of women, persons living with HIV, and other key populations at higher risk. The campaign, supported by the Health Policy Project (HPP) Caribbean regional program, in collaboration with UNAIDS, sought to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination and thereby improve access to essential health and HIV services.
Stigma and discrimination are widely recognized as undermining efforts to prevent the spread of HIV in the region, and pose crucial barriers to accessing care and treatment services -- particularly for persons living with HIV and key populations at higher risk for HIV.
“We must now focus our efforts on educating our people with regard to their rights, specifically to their rights to health care, education and employment,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Health, Marcella Liburd, at the campaign launch. “Clearly these three fundamental rights hold the key to effective empowerment of citizenry that will in turn spur growth and development.”
Earlier in 2012, Teddy Leon, from the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Alliance, and Rachel Charles of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS Regional Stigma and Discrimination Unit participated in a training of facilitators organized by HPP. There, they prepared to educate local communities about the importance of reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination toward key populations as a means to enhance their access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services.
As part of the Equality for All campaign, which took place from July 9-20, Mr. Leon and Ms. Charles facilitated 25 community consultations with non-governmental organizations, churches and faith-based organizations, the Rotary Club, youth leaders, parliamentarians, media, police, and the general public. With support from HPP, the two facilitators helped stimulate dialogue on HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Discussions also focused on ensuring the basic human rights of various stigmatized groups, including persons living with HIV, males who have sex with males, and other key populations at higher risk.
In addition, the facilitators hosted radio call-in programs on human rights and stigma and discrimination throughout the campaign, reaching between 15,000-20,000 residents.
By raising the awareness of stigma and discrimination and human rights issues, the Equality for All campaign aimed to influence public perception toward key populations and improve access to HIV prevention, care, and support services. In addition, the campaign sought to influence policy change by involving communities in the decision-making process. A final report from the consultations will be sent to the Minister of Health, who will use the findings to inform the Prime Minister in making policy and legislative changes to reduce stigma and discrimination and prevent HIV transmission.
This story includes information from online news article from MiyVue.com
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