Zero Discrimination Day - End The Stigma Against People Living With HIV

On March 1, HIV Ireland calls on the public and the Government to tackle the discrimination against those with HIV.

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Today is Zero Discrimination Day. As part of that, HIV Ireland is calling on the public, and the Irish Government, to support its work, and that of others, in tackling discrimination against people living with HIV in Ireland.

Niall Mulligan, the executive director of HIV Ireland said, “On Zero Discrimination Day, it is crucial for policy makers and politicians to understand the impact that stigma and discrimination is having on people. Negative, or misinformed attitudes to HIV, and towards people living with HIV, can create obstacles for people getting tested, and prevent them from accessing the support they need.

“We see similar impacts of stigma on people who use drugs, and on sex workers. According to the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland, recent legislation criminalising the purchase of sex has seen an increase in the risk of violence towards sex workers. The often, unintended consequences of these punitive approaches are inextricably linked to stigma and discrimination.”

In their 2017 survey, HIV in Ireland, HIV Ireland reported the statistics that 17% of people with HIV said they had felt suicidal in the previous 12 months; a quarter were not comfortable with their own HIV positive status; more than half were single; a third had experienced being rejected in a relationship due to their HIV status; and 18% had their HIV status accidentally disclosed within a healthcare setting by a healthcare professional.

The ways that the public can help HIV Ireland to end discrimination are:

. Advocating for change by supporting the #5Asks Campaign and the national #SaferFromHarm campaign for people who use drugs.

. Be an ally for people living with HIV; challenge discrimination when you see it.

. Demand support from the Government in tackling HIV related discrimination.

. Start a petition to change laws that discriminate against people affected by HIV.

. Donate time, money or expertise to HIV Ireland.

On Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS calls on countries to examine discriminatory provisions in their laws and policies and make positive changes to ensure equality, inclusion and protection.

For more information on Zero Discrimination day, visit HIV Ireland and UNAIDS.

For more information on HIV, testing, safer sex and support, visit ACT UP, Man2Man and Positive Now.

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