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HIV laws next for commission

marciadottin, [email protected]

HIV laws next for commission

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LEGISLATION ADDRESSING HIV stigma and discrimination and the “disconnect” between the ages of sexual consent and ability to access health services will be high on the agenda of the National HIV/AIDS Commission in the coming years.
“The Government of Barbados has adopted a National HIV Policy, now due for review, and on recommendations from a study by Sir Errol ‘Mickey’ Walrond has initiated work in some areas of legislative reform,” the commission said in a statement published yesterday, World AIDS Day.
“These include instruments to address HIV stigma and discrimination and the 16-18 disconnect between the age of consent for sexual activity (16 years old), and the uptake of services without the consent of a parent or guardian (18 years old). The National HIV/AIDS Commission will pursue legislative review and reform where relevant to the National AIDS Programme.”
Celebrated every December 1, the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day was Getting To Zero: Zero New HIV Infection, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS-Related Deaths.
And as the commission prepared for strategic year 2014-2018, the release said, greater emphasis would be placed on “educating key populations” on their rights.
People living with HIV, men who have sex with men, drug users and sex workers, women, children, at-risk youth, migrants, people with disabilities, economically disadvantaged people, and itinerant workers like bus drivers and ZR drivers have been identified as groups requiring special attention.
“We will be encouraging a specific programme focus on stigma and discrimination and human rights in key sectors such as health, education, labour, housing and civil society. This will be strongly supported through the strengthening of the monitoring of HIV-related human rights issues through the implementation of a stigma and discrimination register at the government and civil society level,” the statement said.
As it related to stigma and discrimination, the commission said it intended to continue public activism and push for tolerance among all sectors of society. (LW/PR)