July 14, 2020

UNAIDS asks communities to raise their voices for HIV / AIDS prevention

UNAIDS called on the communities of Latin America and the Caribbean to demand that states respond effectively to prevention and stigma against HIV / AIDS, whose new infections increased by 7% in the region between 2010 and 2018.

"On the world day of the fight against AIDS in 2019 the message is that communities make a difference, which are the ones that can raise their voices to their governments so that, where there are still gaps in the response, they can be filled with effectively, "the director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) for Latin America and the Caribbean, César Núñez, told Efe on Sunday.

According to the UN data, AIDS-related deaths in Latin America decreased by 14% between 2010 and 2018, but new infections increased by 7%.

"Because of the intensity of the treatment we have seen a reduction in mortality, but we would have also liked to see a reduction in new infections," said Núñez.


With the passing of time, explained the senior UN official, "in Latin America and the Caribbean, great progress has been made in the delivery of treatments," but there remains a "debt on the issue of prevention and stigma and discrimination."

Just as the communities influenced "the response directed to people who already live with HIV, offering them treatment, we think that they will be, once again, the most suitable allies that can move this response that still needs to be implemented" in prevention and stigmatization, Núñez said.

"The political commitment should not remain in a narrative, it must be accompanied by budgets that can go to the same associations or communities so that they can do a work together with the State," explained the regional director of UNAIDS.

Thus, the role of communities in tackling the advance of the virus focuses on both key issues such as education and access to prevention, as well as the need to fight against social stigmas.


Núñez acknowledged that communicating the message of prevention of HIV / AIDS entails, due to issues of various kinds including cultural and religious, a higher level of difficulty compared to a campaign focused on other public health problems.

It is easier to spread "messages for the forecast, for example of diarrhea, in which very easily you are invited to wash your hands or boil water, or to promote in schools that children take this message home," he said.

"It is much more difficult to promote prevention messages that have to go through sexuality education," and it is here that "communities, particularly at the peer level, people already living with HIV, members of the community of sexual diversity, they become essential partners to carry these messages, "said Núñez.


Nuñez said that "many of the messages" promoted by UNAIDS "are aimed at the young population," in which "that number of new infections is gradually increasing."

It is something that is related to the fact that the "beginning of sexual relations is increasingly early", in an environment in which it is not clear how much information or sexual education the individual has.

And "all this tells us that sexually transmitted infections are present, that young people are having sex and that we need to intensify actions directed towards young people with a very intense emphasis on education for sexuality," added the senior official of the ONU.

Giovanna Ferullo

. (tagsToTranslate) UNAIDS (t) communities (t) raise (t) prevention (t) HIV AIDS

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