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Jan 18, 2017

Fighting Stigma and Discrimination over H.I.V.

The National AIDS Commission is hosting a series of training sessions to sensitize key sectors in HIV stigma and discrimination. The sessions started on Tuesday with media personnel and will continue with Judiciary members, law enforcers, health workers and administrators, which seek to create an enabling environment for key populations affect by HIV. Today we stopped in at the media session to speak with facilitator of the sessions, Martha Carillo.

 

Martha Carillo

Martha Carillo, Facilitator

“The entire objective is to pilot a training guide that has been developed for these sectors to address the situation of stigma and discrimination towards populations that are most affected by HIV in our country. We know that stigma and discrimination continue to pose a major barrier to access to services for some of the populations that need it the most; for example, Men who have Sex with Men, Sex Workers, and Persons that use injecting drug. And we see that even though services are now available for these populations, these services are not being accessed mainly because there is stigma and discrimination. And our objective, really, is through this project with the Global Fund is to sensitize key sectors to be able to play a role in creating an enabling environment for these populations.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Mis  Carillo, now, HIV-AIDS – it’s not something new; it is not new to Belize; it is not new to the world. Why do you think we are still struggling as a country as it relates to stigma and discrimination when it comes to HIV-AIDS?”

 

Martha Carillo

“Right and it is nothing new. I am not new. I have been involved with HIV twenty years now but what this has done is that has provided us with a clear picture of where we were twenty years from today and where we are now. The reality is that HIV, just like the virus that continuously mutates and changes, the epidemic has done the same; where at first it was mostly young women affected and then women, men and young men and then really the most recent survey is showing that the populations most affected are the Men who have Sex with Men and the Transgender population. And we feel that it really requires a shift in the way that we strategize in reaching different populations and with this particular approach which we believe is a human rights based approach.”

 

Carillo says that this project is focused on the Belize, Cayo and Stann Creek districts as stipulated in the global fund project. 

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