40 years later, the city of Kingston makes World AIDS Day official

40 years later, the city of Kingston makes World AIDS Day official

For the first time ever since the appearance of HIV 40 years ago, the city of Kingston, capital of Jamaica, approved for World AIDS Day to become an official commemoration.

This caribbean country has the third highest prevalence of HIV in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, just behind Haiti and Guyana. In addition, there is an active law that criminalizes anal intercourse, as well as certain acts of “repulsive indecency” among men.

In this context, the Mayor of Kingston, Delroy Williams, said that the resolution that officially establishes December 1st is an important step towards the city’s transformation into a stigma-free territory.

The resolution acknowledges that “ending discrimination, stigma and marginalization will help get more people tested, access treatment and reduce HIV incidence in the city”.

As reported by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), this initiative strengthens the local government’s commitment (known as Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation) with the Sustainable Development Goals, Fast-Track cities and the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS “Putting an end to inequalities and establishing fast-track in order to end AIDS by 2030”, documents which define the roadmap to be followed by the UN member states so that AIDS can stop being a threat to public health in 2030.

Stigma, a persisting problem

In 2020 a Stigma Index was developed on people who live with HIV in Jamaica, in which a third of them expressed that they have suffered at least one form of stigma or discrimination because of their health condition in the past 12 months. Additionally, more than half of the participants recognized that they self-stigmatize, and the majority said that it was difficult to talk about their condition with other people.

This is why, the UNAIDS Director in Jamaica, Manoela Manova, stated that the commitments made by the municipal government are a step in the right direction. If in fact “there is still much work to be done in order to end inequalities, discrimination and AIDS”, the commitment showed by the city and its councilmen is a show of solidarity and leadership that must be replicated in all levels of government, Manova highlighted.

At AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we work to prevent and treat HIV, free of stigma and discrimination. If you want to get a free HIV screening test, contact us in the nearest office in your country or write to us via Whatsapp.