NATIONAL, DILI, HEALTH

Family support is essential to combat stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS

Family support is essential to combat stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS

The Executive Director of the local NGO Estrela+, Inês Lopes (Photo/S

DILI, 29 november 2022 (TATOLI) – The Executive Director of the local NGO Estrela+, Inês Lopes, called on families across the country to support members living with HIV/AIDS to fight against stigma and discrimination. 

Lopes recalled that according to its 2019 survey, about 40% of people living with HIV/AIDS have experienced stigma and discrimination: “This is because health workers disclosed the identity of many people living with HIV/AIDS.”

“Discrimination and stigma prevent many HIV-positive people from seeking routine intensive treatment. We, therefore, consider this attitude unacceptable and against human rights. So, family support is vital for members living with HIV/AIDS to seek treatment at hospitals,” Lopes told TATOLI in Palapaço, Dili.

He said many HIV-positive people were victims of discrimination and stigma from their own families.

Lopes said his organization would continue to support HIV-positive people in raising their awareness and knowledge to live positively with HIV/AIDS.

“Estrela+ always organizes training for health professionals to provide adequate health support to people living with HIV/AIDS. Not only that, but we also disseminate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. We need to protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS,” she said.

Lopes stressed that Estrela+ works in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice to defend the rights of HIV-positive people and to fight and end discrimination and stigma in the country. 

“Estrela+ also cooperates with the Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) to pay close attention to the services of public and private institutions towards people living with HIV/AIDS,” Lopes said

She added that the majority of the cases of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS took place in the municipalities of Dili, Baucau, Covalima, Bobonaro, and the Special Administrative Region of Oé-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA).

“The Global Fund and other development partners continue to support Estrela+ in disseminating information to local authorities and health professionals throughout the country,” Lopes said.

According to the data of the Ministry of Health, Timor-Leste registers 1,582 people living with HIV/AIDS and 260 deaths. 

 

 

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges 

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