London: The global response to AIDS is “under threat” because of an unprecedented backlash against human rights that is stigmatizing the groups most at risk of HIV infection, the head of the United Nations AIDS programme has warned. Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS, said countries where there are laws against LGBTQ people, or which criminalise sex work or personal drug use, are largely the places seeing a rise or plateau in new infections. Stigma, discrimination and a lack of comprehensive sex education was also an issue, she said.
“This pushback – anti-human rights, anti-democratic, anti-gender equality – has put our work under threat,” she told Reuters in an interview in London ahead of the launch of a new report from the organization she leads.
UNAIDS is aiming for a target of ending the disease as a public health threat by 2030, which Byanyima said was still achievable, with a number of countries, particularly in Africa on track or close to their targets. But in other regions like eastern Europe and north Africa, infections are on the rise. She said,
We are saying it can be achieved. That’s not the same as saying it will be achieved. .
Globally, there were 39 million people living with AIDS in 2022, including 1.3 million who were newly infected. Almost 30 million of them are getting treatment, but there were still 630,000 deaths due to AIDS-related illnesses last year, according to UNAIDS data.
The new report calls for the work of community organizations to be recognised and funded to help fight stigma and the wider backlash, under the title “Let communities lead”.
Byanyima said there were also other challenges, such as funding and “big battles” with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that new products can be made available in low-income countries at an affordable price.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.