Peru: New campaign to counter stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV
11 December 2009
In Peru, 76 000 people are living with HIV. While HIV prevalence in the general population is relatively low at 0.5%, the men who have sex with men and the transgender communities have been hard hit by the epidemic with an estimated prevalence of 10.8% and 32% respectively.
A range of complex social prejudices result in people living with the HIV being frequently subject to discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
To counter stigma towards people living with HIV in Peru a new campaign was launched in November 2009; a joint initiative by UNAIDS, UNDP and the Peruvian Press Council.
The purpose of the multimedia campaign, entitled “An image against stigma and discrimination caused by HIV and AIDS”, is to create a supportive environment for people living with HIV, free of discrimination and fear.
Estimates by civil society organizations reveal that an increasing number of hate crimes are taking place every year, most of which go unpunished.
Renate Ehmer, UNAIDS Coordinator for Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia
Speaking at the launch, the President of the Peruvian Press Council Luis Agois noted the role media can play. “Our contribution is the broadcasting of this campaign, an initiative which has been enthusiastically joined by the press in general in Peru.”
Fear of social repercussions and the discrimination that might result from a positive HIV test, many Peruvians avoid leaning their HIV status according to Jorge Chediek, Resident Representative of the UN system, further jeopardizing their health. “As a consequence, they can’t access treatment; and HIV treatment in Peru is free.”
Renate Ehmer, UNAIDS Coordinator for Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia highlighted the extreme expressions of stigma and discriminations that result in violence, “hate crimes; when men and women are killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“Estimates by civil society organizations reveal that an increasing number of hate crimes are taking place every year, most of which go unpunished,” Ms Ehmer continued.
The campaign brings together Peruvian celebrities and people living with HIV who appear on posters and brochures and distributed nation-wide.
The high profile participants include Javier Velasquez Quesquen, Head of the Cabinet of Ministers; Javier Villa Stein, President of the Judiciary; Oscar Ugarte, Minister of Health; Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Antonio Brack, Minister of Environment; Monsignor Bambaren, Nolberto Solano, football players, members of the music group Grupo 5 and comedian Carlos Alvarez as well as Economist Hernando de Soto.
Two short films have also been produced as part of the campaign and can be watched here:
An image against stigma and discrimination caused by HIV and AIDS vol 1
An image against stigma and discrimination caused by HIV and AIDS vol 2