For those most vulnerable to HIV – including people living with HIV, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, people who use drugs, young people, migrants and prisoners – already facing challenges and disenfranchisement from the wider community, the hardships they face in employment, accessing healthcare, household settings, livelihood and social protections have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, civil society and key population (KP) networks report alarming instances of human rights violations and growing concerns about the rise in discrimination targeting vulnerable groups and health care professionals.
In light of this rise of discrimination in Asia and the Pacific, UNAIDS has partnered with regional networks, including ANPUD, APCOM, APN+, APNSW, APTN, ICW AP and Youth LEAD and the IATT on YKP to develop a social media package and a set of key messages for advocacy. Drawing on the lessons learned from the HIV response, the campaign is urging people to act with kindness, not stigma and discrimination, and respect people living with HIV, key populations and people affected by COVID-19.
By joining our voices together, we can be part of a call to end all forms of discrimination. As communities, though we may be isolated in quarantine and experiencing government lockdown measures, let us not contribute to division and leave those most vulnerable behind.
We call on partners to promote inclusion, compassion, and the right of everyone to life a full and productive life – and to live it with dignity.