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The Government is committed to combatting discrimination and stigma, which reduces access to care for people living with HIV and AIDS.

State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, in her message to mark World AIDS Day on December 1, noted that healthcare settings can sometimes prove challenging for people living with the virus.

She said that the public health authorities remain sensitive to the need for “broader efforts” to combat all forms of discrimination and is reassessing the customer experience in public health facilities with a view to improving public confidence in service delivery.

“Through our network of treatment sites, we remain dedicated to improving accessibility for diagnosis and monitoring of HIV at the point of care,” she noted.

Mrs. Cuthbert Flynn, in emphasising the Ggovernment’s efforts to reduce stigma and improve access to care for HIV/AIDS patients, noted that in 2020 Jamaica became one of the first countries globally to endorse and support the Global Partnership For Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination.

She said that the local partnership group, which she chairs, “builds on the tremendous efforts led by civil society, international and development partners and other stakeholders, and provides us with a platform to design, implement and monitor the progress of our efforts to end stigma and discrimination in all settings”.

“The fruit of our labour involves facilitating dialogue around issues that cause some in our vulnerable people and groups to experience shame,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said efforts are ongoing in Jamaica to deliver care, medical, social, psychological and peer support to enable people living with HIV to enjoy their best lives, while reducing the barriers to accessing care for key and vulnerable populations.

“This remains critical even as we address the disparities that stifle the progress of ending AIDS. It is our aim to realise a more robust system of prevention, treatment, care and support that is necessary to engender an enabling environment where equality can become a reality,” she said.

Every year, on December 1, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.

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