The International HIV/AIDS Alliance has this week launched a new global campaign calling for equal access to healthcare for LGBT people.
The Alliance has launched the Write Us In campaign to highlight how marginalised groups who are at most risk of HIV are currently being overlooked by the UN.
The Alliance’s Global Campaign Coordinator Karen Johnson said: “Decades of hard-won progress in the fight against AIDS could unravel unless governments commit quickly to including LGBTI people in the new development goals.”
The Alliance claim that every year millions of marginalised people around the world – including men who have sex with men and transgender people – are “denied access to life-saving healthcare and HIV services because of punitive laws and policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual identity.”
UNAIDS data indicates that globally men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than the general population, while transgender women are up to 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than all adults of reproductive age.
“If we don’t act now,” Johnson continued, “the health goal to ensure that everyone can have access to affordable and high quality health services through Universal Health Coverage will not address the specific healthcare needs of LGBTI people and other marginalised groups.”
The Alliance aims to use Write Us In to put pressure on the two people responsible for drafting the Universal Health Coverage text – Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation, and Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank – to ensure the new health goal is “fully inclusive and protects everyone.”
Johnson concluded: “We have a window of opportunity to ensure that every one of us receives the healthcare we need, wherever we are.
“Let’s not spend the next 15 years kicking ourselves that we should have acted.”
The British pop singer and AIDS activist testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee and discussed his AIDS foundation’s efforts, while pushing Congress to continue funding toward combating AIDS until the disease is completely wiped out.