By Elizabeth Ndhlovu-Dumbreni
SAfAIDS Executive Director Mrs Lois Chingandu
SAfAIDS last week held a dialogue with parliamentarians on addressing barriers to access to health/ HIV services for key populations (KPs). The dialogue, which was attended by lawmakers, KP members, the media, and traditional and religious representatives, focused on sensitising the audience on the needs of key populations as well as doing away with stigma.
Key populations include people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, women who have sex with women, sex workers and prisoners.
Giving her keynote address, SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu, said there is need to ensure that no one is left behind as far as prevention of HIV is concerned
“We are talking the prevention agenda. We can only prevent HIV if we make sure that every sexual contact is protected. If it is not protected, we will not prevent or end HIV. You need to ensure that no-one is left behind,” she said. “The reality is that KPs are around us everywhere and these are human beings, just like us. Let us design a system that will ensure that they are treated with respect and with dignity.”
She commended the legislature for including everyone in the biometric voter registration system irrespective of sexual orientation or profession and added that it is our responsibility to make sure that everyone gets health access in its entirety.