Image courtesy UNAIDS Caribbean.

(UNAIDS Caribbean) — In commemoration of World AIDS Day 2021, UNAIDS Caribbean has launched the social media campaign #endAIDSCaribbean. The campaign focuses on the theme “End inequalities. End AIDS” and targets online audiences in the Dutch-, English-, French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean.

The theme is taken from the 2021–2026 Global AIDS Strategy. It is meant to increase awareness and buy-in for an approach focused on addressing discrimination, injustice and inequity. Together with the effective implementation of HIV prevention, treatment and care best practices, this people-centred strategy will get every country and community on track to eliminate AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goal agenda.

“Stigma and discrimination, the marginalization and criminalization of entire communities and a lack of access to healthcare, justice and other essential services continue to fuel the HIV epidemic in the region,” said UNAIDS Caribbean Director, Dr. James Guwani.

Among the groups particularly affected by these inequalities are people living with HIV; the key populations (gay men and other men who have sex with men or MSM, sex workers, transgender people, people who use drugs and people in prison); at-risk children and youth; poor people; migrants; the homeless; women and other people who experience gender-based violence.

The campaign emphasizes what individuals and communities can do to be more supportive of those living with, and affected by, HIV. It also points to legal and policy directions that would help the Caribbean create a more enabling environment for the AIDS response.

View an informative video on how to make a difference by clicking here.

The Caribbean campaign’s key messages are:

●   Build a more caring, respectful community

●   Be kind to everyone

●   Support people living with HIV

●   Provide emotional and social support to those in need

●   Strengthen community-led services

●   Ensure social safety nets cover everyone

●   Provide safe, comfortable healthcare for all

●   Address people’s specific needs

●   Ensure health services are confidential

●   Ensure everyone has access to justice

●   Remove laws that discriminate

●   Create laws that protect

The campaign includes an animated video, quizzes testing knowledge about HIV and COVID-19 vaccines, infographics and GIFs.

At the end of 2020, UNAIDS estimates that 18% of people living with HIV in the Caribbean were unaware of their status. Of those who were diagnosed, almost one in five (18%) did not start treatment. There are also challenges around retaining people in care, so they achieve viral suppression. People’s experience and fear of prejudice, gossip, harassment and violence all contribute to lower treatment initiation and adherence rates.

“The Caribbean has testing, treatment and care services,” Dr. Guwani noted. “What is needed is greater investments in community organizations that can help people navigate the process and a culture that treats everyone with respect, regardless of difference. Ending AIDS is not just the business of Health Ministries. We need every person to play their part.”

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UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.