Switzerland: 'Without an end to discrimination, there would be no end to the AIDS epidemic' - UNAIDS

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - "Without an end to discrimination there would be no end to the AIDS epidemic. Everybody must have access to essential health and education services without fear of being harassed, mistreated or rejected," the words of the First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo de Varela, at the opening session of the 40th meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking in favour of the zero discrimination agenda, Ms Castillo, who is the UNAIDS Special Ambassador for AIDS in Latin America, said “Discrimination is a serious violation of human rights. It is illegal, immoral and inhumane. We all deserve to live with dignity.”

She also underlined the progress made in Panama to expand HIV testing services for young people and key populations, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers.  

Ms Castillo spoke passionately about the "Love on Wheels initiative", which runs mobile clinics offering HIV and breast cancer testing services to hard-to-reach groups of people in rural areas of Panama.

She also noted advances in protecting the rights of women and girls in Panama by increasing the country’s marriageable age to 18 years.

The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, thanked Ms Castillo for her strong commitment to ending stigma and discrimination, especially for people living with HIV.

“My sister, the First Lady of Panama, is a passionate defender of zero discrimination and is committed to supporting UNAIDS’ work to end the AIDS epidemic. I thank her for her compassion and commitment to leave no one behind.”

Ms Castillo is on a four-day working visit to Geneva, during which she is meeting with staff of UNAIDS, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Trade Centre.
-0- PANA VAO 28June2017

28 يونيو 2017 14:37:15

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