Latin American and Caribbean countries pledged to reduce new cases of HIV in adults and young people by 75% by 2020, according to a joint statement by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
This and other proposals were approved during the 2nd Latin American and Caribbean Forum on the HIV Continuum of Care, held last week in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, with the participation of more than 150 representatives from regional HIV/AIDS programs, networks and civil society organizations, key communities and those most affected by the epidemic, UN agencies and international and bilateral cooperation associations.
According to the document, the representatives of participating countries discussed the new HIV prevention goals and the need to completely eliminate discrimination in order to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
“New cases of infection and mortality rates are not decreasing as fast as we would like. The HIV epidemic continues to be concentrated within specific groups who have difficulty accessing and receiving the necessary services,” stated Marcos Espinal, head of the PAHO/WHO Transmissible Diseases department.
According to the report, there are an estimated two million people living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean and in 2014 approximately 100,000 new cases of the disease were registered in the region.
Acknowledging that the prejudice, stigma and discrimination attached to HIV/AIDS exacerbate the situation and constitute significant barriers to accessing vital services, the forum participants put forward goals to eradicate discrimination, including: that no new law, regulation or policy that could be used to discriminate against people with HIV or key populations be approved; that all countries have a monitoring system to tackle discrimination by health workers against people with HIV and key communities; that 75% of countries reduce the number of acts of violence/hate crimes against people living with or those affected by HIV, including LGBTI persons and sex workers; that 90% of countries have systems, policies and/or legislation to protect those affected by HIV, with mechanisms to report and resolve human rights violations, including those related to HIV and key populations.