Inequality is holding us back

By Alvaro Bermejo

As Executive Director, I am delighted that the International HIV/AIDS Alliance is participating as a supporting partner in this year’s Blog Action Day.

For the past 20 years, the Alliance has worked tirelessly for equal access to essential HIV services for all, especially those who are most vulnerable. People living with or vulnerable to HIV are most often marginalised, have their human rights denied and face stigma, discrimination and violence on a daily basis. We believe the lives of all human beings are equal, and that everyone has the right to access the HIV information and services they need for a healthy life. Our goal is to end AIDS.

Inequalities lurk at the root of the biggest challenges to the HIV response and are what hold us back. Challenges such as discriminatory laws that criminalise people who are most vulnerable to HIV halt progress in eliminating AIDS; they are one of the reasons why we have fallen short of achieving universal access to treatment for HIV under Millennium Development Goal 6.

We are at a crucial point in history. In a year’s time, the MDGs expire. Governments and the international community are now in a position to ensure that the next set of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals are achievable, inclusive, universal and equitable. They can’t be any of these things if, for example, we continue to see the criminalisation of LGBTI people in more than 70 countries.

These discriminatory laws and policies will only serve to fuel the HIV epidemic. That’s why the Alliance is preparing to launch an exciting new global campaign early next year addressing the issue of the criminalisation of LGBTI people. We aim to create enough noise so decision-makers hear our message loud and clear - inequality arising from discrimination, marginalisation and criminalisation of vulnerable groups has no place in a post-MDG world. By eliminating it, we will stop the spread of HIV and we will save lives.

During Blog Action Day we’d love to read blogs on your views on inequality, human rights and issues affecting LGBTI people around the world. If you tweet your blog and tag @theaidsalliance, we will retweet to our supporters. For inspiration, here are some of our resources on LGBT issues including the incredibly touching films featuring Rachel and Marc & Ricardo.