Topic

hiv and aids

4 petitions

Started 2 months ago

Petition to Peace Corps

Stop Dismissing Volunteers with HIV and Provide Better Health Care

The Peace Corps strives to create a world committed to justice, peace and friendship. Yet the organization has a disturbing trend where several volunteers have been fired after they were diagnosed with HIV.  Volunteers in Cambodia, Ukraine, and other parts of Southeast Asia have been dismissed after their HIV diagnoses, while many other volunteers have been told that they cannot get access to PrEP, medication that can drastically lower the rate of HIV transmission. This is despite the fact that many Peace Corps volunteers work in countries with high rates of HIV. It's time for the Peace Corps to stop discriminating against HIV-positive volunteers and to provide better health care for volunteers. In a formal letter to the Peace Corps, the Treatment Action Group (TAG) said they were deeply concerned about an environment of "de facto discrimination" against individuals with HIV in the Peace Corps. "We are concerned that the Peace Corps’s policy pertaining to volunteers diagnosed with HIV is arbitrary, is not grounded in evidence, and is being implemented without critical attention to the well-being of the volunteers," TAG writes. "In practice, these policies mean that volunteers who make the health-conscious decision to get tested for HIV—a practice the Peace Corps should encourage—are, in effect, punished if they test positive." For an organization as highly-respected and mission-focused as the Peace Corps, they are failing the people they serve by firing people with HIV and by refusing access to much needed medications that can help curb the transmission of HIV. Urge the Peace Corps to do better, to stop treating volunteers with HIV as disposable, and to make sure that volunteers in the Peace Corps have all the health care they need to prevent transmission of HIV.  

Campaigns Lab
14,815 supporters
This petition won 4 years ago

Petition to Sec. Enrique T. Ona

Abandon plans to enforce compulsory HIV testing #NoWitchHunt @DOHgovph

Compulsory testing is illegal, ineffective, and dangerous. Our current legal framework allows for various modes of HIV testing, but they have to be voluntary and confidential. This is clearly rights-based, but this is also informed by existing evidence that coercive modes of HIV testing reduce the take up of testing services. Those who need to get tested fear discrimination and abuse and hide underground once authorities make testing compulsory. The fear is not unfounded; we still have not addressed HIV-related stigma and discrimination.  Compulsory testing is problematic, costly, and encourages human rights abuses. In a concentrated epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgenders, how do you intend to find those who will be required to get tested? Your Department has evidence that shows the complexity of the Filipino sexual behavior. By definition, men who have sex with men include those who engage in sexual acts with other men but do not consider themselves as gay. The DOH also has data that shows a significant portion of men who have sex with men have female sexual partners, too. Will you require all of these individuals to get tested? How do you fund this? This could easily be translated into a witch-hunt, and going by the statements of some LGU officials, it seems that this is precisely what will happen. The alternative to compulsory testing is community-led HIV testing, which is legal, cost-effective, evidence-informed, and human rights-based. For the last four years, collaboration between community groups and government-run HIV testing facilities has intensified, resulting into the increase in the uptake on HIV testing, which partly accounts for the increase in new HIV infections recorded by the Philippine HIV/AIDS Registry. In a recent review, international and local HIV experts cite this model as an effective approach in a concentrated epidemic, a review that you have accepted on behalf of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), which you chair. The same review has already warned against compulsory HIV testing, which is why I wonder why you are pushing this policy despite accepting the findings of the review. Abandon your plans to enforce compulsory HIV testing and focus instead on addressing existing issues. There is an ongoing shortage of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs, there is a lack of funding for local HIV programs, there are gaps in resources and services, and HIV-related stigma and discrimination is still preventing people from getting tested and from accessing crucial HIV services. Why resort to unlawful, dangerous, and ineffective interventions, when you should be exercising leadership to deliver evidence-based and human rights-informed solutions?

Network to Stop AIDS - Philippines
1,386 supporters