We are living through turbulent and dramatic times – first ignited by the Covid-19 pandemic, when many HIV services got disrupted, then fueled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which made millions of people flee the war and search refuge elsewhere. Polands, Germany and other countries in our region welcome people suffering from despair and pain.
In this context, the word “equality” acquires broader semantic content and actionable urgency. Such factors as discrimination, gender inequality, poverty, and criminalization continue to hinder equitable access to HIV services. Everyone should enjoy the right to get services in their native language and be aware that the HIV diagnosis is not a ground for deportation or a pursuit of any kind. The problem of equality can also be seen in the disbalanced access to prevention and care services between countries and inside one country.
It is therefore crucial that the governments and communities in our region accelerate their combined efforts and endeavors to address the inequality drivers faced by people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV, and to create and promote the regionwide environment enabling inclusive, equitable and affordable access to healthcare, including HIV services for all and for everyone.
The NDPHS Expert Group on HIV, Tuberculosis and Associated Infections calls on its Partners to continuously and rigorously track, identify and, most importantly, handle the injustices and inequalities that create barriers for access to HIV services and therefore continue to push the HIV epidemic to rise and spread. Such assiduous response would especially be needed in the times of overly hectic human mobility and migration when people in need may remain neglected by the care systems and communities due to embedded or learnt biases and limitations.
Listen to the Tune in Health podcast episode on the topic “Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis: People Living with HIV/AIDS”.