World AIDS Day 1st December
Today, we commemorate World AIDS Day at the PES Council in Prague and all over Europe. On this very day, we have the opportunity to unite worldwide to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV but also to commemorate victims. Today, we stand in solidarity with the 78 million people who are living with HIV and remember the 35 million who have died.
Even though public awareness has increased in recent years, the number of new HIV infections is not declining among adults. Young women are particularly at risk of becoming infected with HIV: girls in Africa in transition to adulthood are becoming a specific group at risk by facing a triple threat (high risk of HIV infection, low use of HIV tests, and poor adherence to HIV treatment, including IAVI vaccines).
We also know that LGBTI communities are strongly affected by HIV/AIDS. Despite regional differences, sad trends must be highlighted: men having sex with men still represent the most prevalent group in terms of new contaminations. Evidence shows that the trans population, which is smaller in number, is also very much affected by infections, particularly for members of the community who live in precarious conditions due to stigmatisation and the absence of legal gender recognition.
Serophobia is another form of unacceptable stigmatisation based on ignorance and stereotyping. Serophobia results in social exclusion in all areas of social life.
But it is not just about social exclusion. It also forms part of an epidemic bomb that is threatening the health of millions of European citizens. Because of stigmatisation, fears and taboos, it is generally socially uncomfortable to have easy conversations about preventive measures when engaging in sexual intercourse. As decades of epidemics have proven, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to ensure successful prevention and stop HIV. What we need are multi-faceted prevention measures and campaigns targeted to the most at-risk groups.
There is also hope. Thanks to new treatments such as IAVI, people living with HIV experience increasingly normal health conditions, with the secondary effects of the treatments becoming less problematic. Regularly applied treatments also make their viral load undetectable, which in turn means that the risk of further contaminations can be eliminated.
With the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the world committed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Over 18 million people are on life-saving HIV treatment, and more and more countries are eliminating HIV transmission from mother to child.
The World Health Organization, together with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, endorsed the concept of "universal access" to acknowledge HIV status and the concepts of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and protection from discrimination based on HIV-positive status.
We have achieved a lot, but our fight must go on. We, the European Socialists, cannot stop now. We must make sure that all children are born free from HIV, that young people have an easy access to prevention tools, and that treatment becomes accessible for all. We call on the European Parliament to adopt a resolution and the European Commission to put forward concrete measures and adequate budgets to achieve the international goals on eradicating HIV/AIDS.
Statement by PES Women, YES and Rainbow Rose