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Provide deaf-friendly HIV services

This petition had 95 supporters

Dear Secretary Enrique Ona,

I am Bibo Lee Perey, and I am writing this petition on behalf of the Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, an organization of deaf LGBTs in the Philippines.

Today, 16 new HIV cases are recorded in the Philippines. It is likely to continue increasing in the coming years.

Most of the new HIV cases are among men who have sex with men and transgenders, and due to inaquate HIV services in the country, we fear that more and more Filipino gays, bisexuals, other men who have sex with men, and trans people will be vulnerable to the epidemic.

The current HIV epidemic heightens the vulnerabilities of deaf gays, bisexuals, other men who have sex with men, and trans people. Our exclusion has many layers: we are stigmatized and discrimination because of our disability, our sexual orientation, and our gender identity.

Some of our friends have already been infected by HIV, and yet there are no deaf-friendly HIV services in the country that could help us protect ourselves from HIV and access testing and treatment, care, and support.

We have already sent a request for deaf-friendly HIV services to the Department of Health on June 2013, but we did not receive any response.

Through this online petition, we hope to reiterate our appeal for deaf-friendly HIV services. We hope to remind Secretary Ona of Article 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which encourages Member-States to:

• Provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programs as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programs;

• Provide those health services needed by persons with disabilities specifically because of their disabilities, including early identification and intervention as appropriate, and services designed to minimize and prevent further disabilities, including among children and older persons;

• Require health professionals to provide care of the same quality to persons with disabilities as to others, including on the basis of free and informed consent by, inter alia, raising awareness of the human rights, dignity, autonomy and needs of persons with disabilities through training and the promulgation of ethical standards for public and private health care

We need to have access to HIV testing. One concrete step that DOH can immediately do is to include in the guidelines for HIV testing the possibility of deaf client signing a waiver form to allow a Sign Language interpreter, with the client indicating informed consent for the presence of the interpreter during voluntary HIV testing and counselling and the interpreter bound to maintain confidentiality.

We are willing to work with the Department of Health to improve our access to health services. We need access to HIV services now!

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