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Stop The Discrimination
The People’s Partnership Government is intent on ensuring that the relevant health and social services ministries have strong, effective policies to ensure that those living with Hiv have access to proper treatment in every medical, social and psychological form they may need.
So says Prime Minister Kamla Persad – Bissessar in recognition of World Aids Day which is celebrated on December 1st worldwide.
She says, amidst the many strides made over the years to deal with the epidemic, much more work needs to be done.
According to official statistics provided by various international bodies, such as the United Nations and the Pan American Health Organization, as a region, the Caribbean, as of 2008, had an estimated 240,000 persons living with Hiv and Aids.
Higher prevalence rates are found only in sub-Saharan Africa, which makes the Caribbean the second most affected region in the world.
What is equally disturbing she said, is that half of the adults living with the virus are women.
The Prime Minister said this is simply not acceptable and the People’s Partnership Government will do what it can to educate its citizens
Universal access she says, according to Millennium Development Goal 6, means that the Government must ensure that Hiv treatment is made accessible throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
From Toco to Port of Spain—every local health centre in every rural community must be stocked with medical and human resources for treatment of Hiv/Aids.
The other aspect of this year’s theme is the equally significant issue of human rights.
To this end, the Prime Minister wanted to remind the population that people living with Hiv/Aids, like every other human being in this country and the world, are entitled to rights which must be protected and respected.
In recent months, she says she has seen stories highlighted in the media about citizens who say their children face stigmatization in schools because their parents are living with Hiv/Aids.
The Prime Minister said this must stop.
She said discrimination and stigmatization of people living with Hiv/Aids is not only legally wrong, but also morally wrong.
She says it isolates victims and may make them afraid of seeking treatment that they may need, and certainly, it denies them of their constitutionally entrenched right of dignity.