Today, as the world commemorates World AIDS Day under the theme “Let Communities Lead,” Rights 4 Her Uganda team joins the global community in recognizing the pivotal role communities play in eradicating stigma, ensuring access to treatment, fostering support networks and in leading the way to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. We stand in solidarity with all communities affected by HIV/AIDS. We salute their courage, resilience, and leadership.
Communities are the backbone of the HIV response. They connect people with person-centered public health services, build trust, innovate, monitor implementation of policies and services, and hold providers accountable. They know the needs and challenges of their own members, who can provide tailored and effective solutions, can break the stigma and discrimination that fuel the spread of HIV and hinder access to prevention, testing, treatment and care.
However, communities are facing many obstacles including and not limited to; underfunded, overworked, excluded, undervalued, policy and regulatory barriers that limit their scope and impact, crackdowns on civil society and on the human rights of marginalized communities’ especially Structurally Silenced Communities and persons yet they’re the most affected communities but often excluded from decision-making, programming and service delivery.
This World AIDS Day is more than a celebration of the achievements of communities; it is a call to action to enable and support communities in their leadership roles. We urge all stakeholders, from governments to donors, from health workers to researchers, from media to private sector, to recognize, respect, and resource the vital work of communities in the HIV response. We demand an enabling environment that facilitates communities’ role in provision of HIV services, ensures civil society space, and protects the human rights of all. We call for nothing about us without us.
Together We Defend!