Positional statement of “People PLUS” (Belarus)
Today Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is the only region in the world with a significant increase in the spread of HIV infection. Since 2010, the number of new HIV infections in EECA has been growing by more than 50% annually, AIDS-related mortality has increased by 38%. At the same time, the level of access to ARV treatment, especially for discriminated population groups, is one of the lowest among other regions – 28%.
In Belarus, the situation is different from the region as a whole, and for the better. But despite the achieved results, Belarus still has to work hard on all components (HIV testing, expanding access to treatment and services in the context of HIV), that will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
Work in these areas will be more fruitful and successful if at the same time there are positive changes in society to reduce stigma and discrimination in the context of HIV.
Community networks throughout the EECA region have joined forces in the “Chase the virus, not people” campaign, which aims to draw the world’s attention to overcoming HIV-related discrimination and stigma. This is a key condition for an effective response to the HIV epidemic in the EECA region.
Our organization “People PLUS” supports the campaign “Chase the virus, not people!”, because for those affected by HIV in Belarus, the issue of decriminalizing HIV transmission is urgent.
Criminalization of HIV does not solve the problem of the spread of HIV infection, but it is a key barrier to access to treatment and support, contributing to an increase in new cases of HIV / AIDS and mortality, and human rights violations.
We urge you to support changes to the article of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus criminalizing HIV transmission.
Chase the virus, not people! We will succeed only if there is no discrimination and stigma.