Barbados: UN chief concerned about HIV/AIDS approach in the region

With over a quarter of a million HIV-infected persons reportedly living in the Caribbean, visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is renewing a call for regional governments to make swift changes to legislation that promote discrimination as a measure to contain the spread of the mostly sexually transmitted virus which causes AIDS.

Addressing the launch of the Report of the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission that coincided with the 36th regular CARICOM Heads of Government Summit here, Ban noted that regional countries were struggling to address the epidemic with limited resources at their disposal.

“The epidemic is only made worse by laws and stigma. These are [impacting] our vulnerability to HIV infection and our answers to life saving achievements. They threaten both human rights and public health. We cannot tolerate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or on the basis of gender identity,” the UN chief said, also calling for the human rights of sex workers and persons who inject drugs.

“We can leave no one behind. AIDS can only end when we protect the human rights of all . . . We have to [correct] all kinds of societal ills including stigma, intolerance, discrimination and violence. To end this epidemic, we need gender equality. We need to protect the sexual and reproductive rights,” Ban emphasized.  Read More