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Zero Discrimination Day: UN agency urges people to ‘make noise’ against HIV/AIDS discrimination

Each year on March 1, the world marks Zero Discrimination Day “to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society

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United Nations, March 2, 2017: The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Wednesday marked Zero Discrimination Day with a “Make Some Noise” campaign, urging people to speak up against discrimination.

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“Discrimination takes many forms, and can be based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or age,” Xinhua news agency quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying.

“For this year’s campaign, UNAIDS is putting particular focus on the need for zero discrimination in health-care settings,” Dujarric added.

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According to UNAIDS, people living with disabilities are nearly three times more likely to be denied health-care than other people.

“Healthcare settings should be safe and supportive environments. It is unacceptable that discrimination is inhibiting access to care today,” said Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the UNAIDS, in his message for Zero Discrimination Day.

Each year on March 1, the world marks Zero Discrimination Day “to highlight how everyone can be part of the transformation and take a stand for a fair and just society,” the UN agency said in a press release.

“Eliminating discrimination in health-care settings is critical, and we must demand that it become a reality,” Sidibe added.

The right to health is a fundamental human right that includes access to affordable, timely and quality health-care services for all, yet discrimination remains widespread in health-care settings, creating a serious barrier to access to HIV services.

Data from 50 countries from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index cited by UNAIDS show that one in eight people living with HIV report being denied health care.

Around 60 per cent of European Union/European Economic Area countries report that stigma and discrimination among health-care professionals remains a barrier to the provision of adequate HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs.

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“Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, to live free from discrimination, coercion and abuse,” said Sidibe.

“Discrimination doesn’t just hurt individuals it hurts everyone, whereas welcoming and embracing diversity in all its forms brings benefits for all,” Sidibe added. (IANS)

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Newly Developed Tool to Battle HIV in Women

This novel tool may soon help women to combat HIV transmission

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HIV Aids is a deadly disease.
HIV AIDS

Scientists have developed a new tool that can potentially help protect women from being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The tool — a vaginal implant — decreases the number of cells that the HIV virus can target in a woman’s genital tract.

Unlike conventional methods of HIV prevention such as condoms or anti-HIV drugs, the novel implant takes advantage of some people’s natural immunity to the virus.

The deadly disease of HIV is now preventable.
HIV is now preventable.

HIV infects the body by corrupting T-cells that are mobilised by the immune system when the virus enters a person’s body.

“We know that some drugs taken orally never make it to the vaginal tract, so this implant could provide a more reliable way to encourage T-cells not to respond to infection and therefore more reliably and cheaply prevent transmission,” said Emmanuel Ho, professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

When the T-cells stay resting and do not attempt to fight the virus they are not infected and the HIV virus is not transmitted between people.

When the T-cells stay resting, it is referred to as being immune quiescent.

However, “what we don’t know yet is if this can be a stand-alone option for preventing HIV transmission or if it might be best used in conjunction with other prevention strategies”, Ho added, in a paper appearing in the Journal of Controlled Release.

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The implant is composed of a hollow tube and two pliable arms to hold it in place.

It contains hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which is disseminated slowly through the porous material of the tube and absorbed by the walls of the vaginal tract.

The implants were tested in an animal model and a significant reduction in T-cell activation was observed, meaning that the vaginal tract was demonstrating an immune quiescent state, the researchers said.  IANS