Intolerance and fear block HIV/AIDS care

Stigma and discrimination were highlighted by UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the recent opening of the 11th International Conference for People Living with HIV/AIDS, held in Kampala, Uganda.

The two organisations said in a joint statement that combating stigma and discrimination was vital to improving access to HIV/AIDS care.

Chief of UNAIDS executive office, Ben Plumley, said: "As we work together to close this vast treatment gap, we must also tackle the intolerance and fear that prevents people from accessing the services they need."

Research shows that 40 percent of countries worldwide have yet to adopt anti-discrimination laws to protect people living with HIV/AIDS.

Plumley added: "Governments must recognise that developing laws that protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS is essential to an effective response to the epidemic."