Originally published: May 17, 2017
UNAIDS’ vision of zero discrimination and ending AIDS by 2030 will only become a reality if the response to HIV reaches everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversity, is commemorated annually on 17 May. This year’s theme is families, focusing on the role of families in the well-being of LGBTI people and respect of the rights of LGBTI families.
“Many young gay and transgender people are rejected by their families, living on the streets, facing all types of discrimination and violence,” said the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. “This is not the path to healthy and productive societies. We must encourage inclusion and compassion and ensure that networks of support are in place, including access to essential health and social services.”
Gay men and other men who have sex with men are 24 times more likely to acquire HIV than other men and transgender people are 49 times more likely. However, in many health-care settings, LGBTI people find it difficult to access quality health services free from discrimination, making them more vulnerable to HIV and less likely to access treatment and care.
Under international human rights law, countries have a legal obligation to address discrimination in health and in the workplace. In 2016, UNAIDS launched an Agenda for Zero Discrimination in Health-Care Settings, which brings together all stakeholders for joint efforts towards a world where everyone, everywhere, is able to receive the health care they need with no discrimination.
UNAIDS is calling for respect for diversity and zero discrimination. To end AIDS it is essential to end the stigma and discrimination faced by LGBTI people.