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UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Guyana, Dr. Ruben del Prado, has said that homophobia is fuelling the HIV pandemic since persons with sexual differences operate in covert isolation.Dr del Prado was speaking at a special session in observance of International Day against Homophobia held at the National Library in Georgetown on Monday.“Men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women and transgender people are all too often, even in 2008, still faced with stigma, discrimination and violence,” Dr del Prado said.He stated that this is contributing to an environment of isolation and exclusion that prevents people from seeking and obtaining vital life saving information on HIV/AIDS.“Homophobia thus fuels the HIV epidemic,” del Prado remarked.The UNAIDS Coordinator stressed that addressing this form of discrimination must be a key part of every country’s National HIV Response.“Any country that wishes to claim a good National HIV Programme must ensure that it is based on respect of human rights,NHL Ice Hockey Jerseys, tolerance and unimpeded access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support – for everyone.”Dr del Prado noted that about 80 countries in the world, including seven in the Caribbean, (including Guyana) still criminalise homosexuality.He stated that the International Day against Homophobia aims to reach everyone in society, regardless of sexual orientation,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, role or position.“It is about working towards a prejudice-free world that can provide a place for everyone.Guyana has been commemorating the International Day against Homophobia since 2006, with SASOD working towards achieving a discrimination-free Guyanese society,” Dr del Prado said.He pointed out that SASOD’s International Film Festival held in June each year is one of the ways to remove homophobia through public awareness.“For UNAIDS, it is both a call of duty and an honour to support SASOD’s call for decriminalisation of homosexuality in Guyana,NFL Jerseys Supply, as the eradication of discrimination against sexual minorities must be underlined as fundamental for progress within the AIDS response.”Dr del Prado said the “Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Law in Relation to Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” adopted by experts in international law in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in November 2006, confirm legal standards for how governments and other actors can end violence, abuse, and discrimination against lesbian, gay,NFL Jerseys China, bisexual, and transgender people, and ensure full equality.A panel discussion on the ‘Yogyakarta Principles’ was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and attracted attendance by Argentina,Wholesale Jerseys China, Brazil, Uruguay,Cheap Jeseys NFL, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the USA and Guyana.Dr del Prado stated that the UNAIDS has committed technical and financial support to SASOD for an awareness campaign on the ‘Yogyakarta Principles’ in Guyana.Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr Mirta Roses recently said that “stigma and rejection reduce the likelihood that people will protect themselves and others against HIV”.Dr Roses added that hatred against people with different sexual orientations is an assault on life itself and a clear violation of basic human rights, which call on us to avoid distinctions between human beings.International Day against Homophobia is observed because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17, 1990.“This marks a formal end to medical homophobia. Yet, in practice this is far from the reality,” Dr del Prado observed.He called on health workers to cease the archaic and unacceptable behaviour of discriminating any person on the basis of sexual orientation.Dr del Prado pointed out that in many cases, prejudice against homosexual people is the result of ignorance and fear, and an expression of intolerance against what is not understood.“Decriminalisation of same-sex activity is as urgent as ever. The fight for the respect of everyone has to be everyone’s fight. UNAIDS and the wider UN family want to stress that the recognition of sexual minorities, as components of our civil societies, and the acknowledgement of the equality of their human rights, will contribute to learning how to live together, that is, the learning of democracy, decency and respect,” Dr del Prado said.
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