Punitive laws and stigma contributing to HIV and AIDS epidemic in Caribbean

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Prime Minster of Barbados, Freundel Stuart (left), unveil a plaque during the Secretary-General’s visit to Barbados.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Punitive laws and stigma are contributing to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean according to the UN Secretary-General.

Speaking in Barbados, Ban Ki-moon said that governments in the region were also struggling to finance their response.

Daniel Dickinson reports

The UN estimates that a quarter of a million people are living with HIV in the Caribbean.

In a speech to mark the launch of a UN report entitled "Defeating AIDS- Advancing Global Health", Secretary-General Ban said the epidemic was being  aggravated by punitive laws and stigma.

Both drive vulnerability to HIV infection and block access to life-saving treatment, he said.

He added that homophobia threatens both human rights and public health and that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was not acceptable.

A lack of funds is also holding back the response to HIV and AIDS in the region.

The report says the US$19 billion which is spent each year across the world needs to double if the international community is to meet its goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 55″

 

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