Submitted by GSK
‘Live and Let Live’ is the theme of a two-year World AIDS Campaign launched today by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS, and supported by Positive Action funded activities. The goal is to heighten awareness of widespread stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. The ICRW research found that people are largely unaware that their attitudes and actions are stigmatising and that knowledge and fear interact in unexpected ways that allow stigma and discrimination to persist.
It comes as no surprise to many living with HIV and AIDS that fear propels the epidemic. Fear of being identified with HIV stops people from learning their serostatus, changing unsafe behaviour, and caring for people living with HIV/AIDS. Services including health clinics set up especially for people living with HIV/AIDS go unused, simply because neighbours are likely to stigmatise those seen entering the building where the services are provided.
One woman in a small, developing country community told Positive Action: “I shared my test results with my in-laws and they chased me away. They decided I was a dead person.” Positive Action funds projects that are based in communities most vulnerable to HIV transmission and the ravages of AIDS. Sponsoring peer-reviewed research is one example of Positive Action’s efforts to explore how stigma and discrimination can be curtailed.
Another is an action-oriented project underway at The European Forum on HIV, Children, Young People and Families to combat the social exclusion of young people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, just recently launched with Positive Action funding.
The Forum’s project responds to the sad reality that children and young people living with HIV themselves or in their families face discrimination in schools, playgrounds and other social venues. Working in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania and Russia where HIV prevalence is soaring, the project will devise interventions to counter HIV discrimination of children and young people, and educate the communities where they live on how HIV is transmitted.
Last month in Latin America, Positive Action announced funding for three HIV/AIDS advocacy and service organisations seeking to widen their outreach in their communities with new publications aimed at readers most vulnerable to HIV infection. Groups in Venezuela, Chile, and Columbia are banding together to share editorial functions, articles, and overhead costs to co-ordinate messages about treatments, services, and prevention. The goal is to expand awareness about HIV transmission and confront the taboos surrounding serostatus. With that kind of community education, infection rates are likely to fall.
Over the past ten years and continuing today, Positive Action has demonstrated its commitment to the principles of the ‘Live and Let Live’ campaign through a range of projects aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination too often associated with HIV/AIDS.
GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information, visit GlaxoSmithKline on the web at www.gsk.com.
Positive Action is GlaxoSmithKline’s international programme of HIV education, care and community support. Through the programme, the company works in partnership with individuals, community groups, healthcare providers, governments, international agencies and others, in order to pursue the common goals of more effective HIV prevention, education, enhanced care and support for people living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS. Since its inception in 1992, Positive Action has supported and implemented a wide variety of projects at both a national and international level, throughout the world. For more information visit Positive Action on the web at www.positiveaction.com
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. GSK has a comprehensive global programme of community partnerships focused on improving health and education. In the UK, GSK supports over 70 charitable organizations in health, science education, the arts and the environment.
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