On World AIDS Day, WHO calls for an end to discrimination

“If we want to have universal health coverage and eliminate AIDS and hepatitis, everyone should collaborate,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged World AIDS Day that there should be no “discrimination” and the collaboration of all to fight against this disease.

“If we want to have universal health coverage and eliminate AIDS and hepatitis, everyone should collaborate,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement.

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“Health services should adapt to meet and meet the needs of the most exposed and affected populations and this includes a policy of zero tolerance of stigma and discrimination in all health services,” Tedros said.

In the statement, the doctor asks “how is it possible after decades of recognition of the key role of communities in conducting HIV response, men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, drug users and prisoners, who accounted for 40 % of infections by 2016, continue to face barriers to accessing the most basic health services. ”

In addition, many young women, adolescents, immigrants and displaced persons are particularly vulnerable, according to Tedros.

However, the doctor acknowledged that “we have advanced a lot in the last 30 years” since “today 21 million people are receiving retroviral treatment against the disease that allows them to live full and productive lives.”

“There are fewer people infected with HIV every day and there are fewer deaths as well, but these successes are hiding the many disparities and challenges that remain,” he warned.

According to the Blind Spot report published today by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), less than 50% of men with HIV are in treatment compared to 60% of women.

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In addition, men are less likely to have access to HIV treatment and greater risk of dying from AIDS-related illnesses, accounting for 58% of the 1 million AIDS-related deaths in 2016.

Globally, 36.7 million people are living with HIV, of which 20.9 million had access to retroviral treatment by the middle of 2017, four times more than in 2000 and 1.2 more than in 2015.

Studies further show that men are more likely to start treatment late and to stop it.

“The response to HIV has played a key role in transforming public health and, in turn, influences the universal health coverage agenda,” concluded WHO Director-General.