Global Community Must Address HIV-Related Stigma, Discrimination in Caribbean, Latin America, Letter to Editor Says
HIV-related stigma has "spawned a 'second epidemic' of ignorance" in Latin America and the Caribbean, Angela Heimburger, program officer for International Planned Parenthood Federation-Western Hemisphere Region, and IPPF-WHR Senior Program Adviser Lucella Campbell write in a Washington Times letter to the editor (Campbell/Heimburger, Washington Times, 3/16). The letter was prompted by a March 9 Times article, which said that officials estimate that as many as 600,000 HIV-positive people live in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and that the large number of affected people could overwhelm public health systems, disrupt economic growth and cause incalculable social consequences (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/9). While advances are being made in English-speaking Caribbean countries, the global community risks "compromising the health and security of the entire region" if it fails to address the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Spanish- and French-speaking countries as well, Heimburger and Campbell say. Governments, advocacy groups, nongovernmental organizations, donors and civil society must address AIDS-related stigma and discrimination or will "fail individually in [their] attempts to encourage prevention, testing and treatment," Heimburger and Campbell conclude (Washington Times, 3/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.