– Be Inclusive partners with Action for AIDS to launch the Inclusive Employers Pledge where Singapore companies unite against HIV discrimination. The Pledge has been signed by 80 companies in Singapore – with Salesforce as lead signatory – and is an active demonstration of their commitment to an inclusive workplace, free from stigma and discrimination. Local NGOs such as Oogachaga, Project X and The T Project are also collaborators of this Pledge.
Action for AIDS is heartened by the Minister’s call to destigmatize HIV and to protect people living with HIV (PLHIV) from discrimination in accessing healthcare, stable employment and acceptance in society.
Verbal calls to destigmatize HIV infection and PLHIV must be followed-up with real action. Measures need to be put in place to protect PLHIV, to progress from mere guidelines to actual laws with teeth and to ensure that they have access to affordable medical care, education, jobs, health and life insurance.
We can address HIV-related stigma by asking these questions. Why do we still perceive HIV infection as a reflection of a person’s moral character?
Should our policies be reviewed in an evidence-based manner to ensure vulnerable members of society are protected?
Are HIV laws helping, or do they have the opposite effect of increasing stigma and discrimination?
Section 377A strengthens and perpetuates stigma and discrimination of Men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), and Action for AIDS firmly believes that the repeal of Section 377A will significantly strengthen HIV and STI Control Programmes in Singapore, not just for the gay and other homosexual men, but indeed for everyone.
Are We Ready For Battle?
With lessons learnt from the SARS epidemic, Singapore stands ready for the next major outbreak. With interview by our heros Ajmal and Avin Tan about how stigma and discrimination affects persons living with HIV.
This study will measure the effect of internalized homophobia, HIV/AIDS knowledge, and personal responsibility beliefs as predictors of discrimination towards PLWHA within the MSM community, in the context of Singapore.
Interview with Prof Roy Chan, former Director of the National Skin Centre and Founding President of Action for AIDS (Singapore). He explained why sexually-transmitted diseases are managed by dermatologists in Singapore, and also discussed the state of HIV social acceptance and management in Singapore
SINGAPORE – For more than two decades, foreigners infected with HIV have not been allowed to set foot in Singapore. However, the ban on those entering on short-term visit passes was lifted on April 1, The Straits Times has found out.
The ban remains for long-term visitors, such as those looking to work in Singapore or those who want to accompany a child studying here, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed.
BREAKING RELIGIOUS TABOOS, THE INJUSTICES OF HIV AND TACKLING STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION – DAY 4 AT AIDS 2014
BILL CLINTON ADDRESSES THE DELEGATES
Wednesday July 22, 2014 – Former US President Bill Clinton has told delegates at AIDS 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference, that finding more economically efficient ways to respond to HIV is vital to saving lives and preventing the spread of the virus.
Mr Clinton, who advocates globally for health security through the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), made the comments at the conference in Melbourne today as he reflected on the progress made so far in overcoming the HIV epidemic, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.
Mr Clinton said meeting global HIV prevention and support targets is possible within the “existing funding envelope”, but only if resources are used more effectively. “The development of super-efficient systems can help us achieve the 90 / 90 / 90 goals,” Mr Clinton said, referring to the UNAIDS 2020 targets of 90% of people with HIV knowing their status, 90% of people with HIV receiving antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment having an undetectable viral load.
Mr Clinton said one of the biggest challenges is delivering care to patients in a better way in rural and remote areas. “How can we reduce the distance they travel to the clinics, the time they wait, the money they spend? How can we launch programs to ensure they feel supported in their communities without the stigma that makes people still, after all these years, drop out of care,” Mr Clinton said.
Mr Clinton said ending mother to child transmission of HIV, and supporting children with HIV is another challenge – as well as a tremendous opportunity for sustaining progress in the response to HIV.
“Almost 50% of all new paediatric infections occur during the breastfeeding period. So keeping these women in care until the end of the breast-feeding period is the single most important thing we can do to achieve an AIDS-free generation.”
Mr Clinton indicated that the AIDS 2014 gathering was more of a movement than a conference, and encouraged delegates and those involved with HIV around the world to step up the pace and continue to make in-roads in the global response to HIV. He also paid his respects to the victims of MH17 including the six delegates due to attend AIDS 2014. He said the delegates who died, through their work for the global HIV response “gave their entire lives to the proposition that our common humanity matters a hell of a lot more than our differences.”
Today’s conference activities (Wednesday 23 July) began with plenary presentations about improving outcomes for marginalised populations of people affected by HIV. The theme of the conference today, including the opening plenary session, was “Nobody left behind”. Issues discussed included addressing the needs of people who use drugs through drug policy and harm reduction (Khuat T. M. Oanh of Vietnam), increasing support for people living with HIV and tuberculosis co-infection (Diane Havlir of the US), and reducing the impact of HIV on sex workers (Daisy Nakato of Uganda) and on indigenous populations (James Ward of Australia).
This declaration affirms that non-discrimination is fundamental to an evidence-based response to HIV and effective public health programmes.
“The enforcement of discriminatory and criminalising laws and policies against Key Affected Populations is deeply alarming.” said Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, AIDS 2014 International Chair, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. “Such practices clearly violate basic human rights and heavily undermine HIV programmes by posing barriers to access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. With the declaration we want to reiterate that every individual has the same rights and dignity as everyone else as we are born equal and part of the human family. ”
All individuals and organizations involved in the global response to HIV and AIDS are encouraged to visit and sign the declaration at www.aids2014.org/declaration.aspx and to share it with their networks.
“If we really want to change the course of HIV we must make sure that nobody is left behind. AIDS 2014 will be a truly global, inclusive conference and will reflect the principles of the declaration” commented Professor Sharon Lewin, Local Co-Chair of AIDS 2014, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University and Co-Head of the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne.