The International HIV/AIDS Alliance has this week launched a new global campaign -- Write Us In -- calling for equitable access to healthcare for LGBTI people everywhere.
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which determine the goals and agendas of UN Member States for the next fifteen years, are currently in the process of being finalised and the Alliance has launched Write Us In to highlight how marginalised groups at most risk of HIV are being overlooked, in particular in the new health goal, SDG3.
According to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance's Global Campaign Coordinator Karen Johnson: "Decades of hard-won progress in the fight against AIDS could unravel unless governments commit quickly to including LGBTI people in the new development goals."
Every year millions of marginalised people around the world -- including men who have sex with men and transgender people -- are denied access to life-saving healthcare and HIV services because of punitive laws and policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual identity.
UNAIDS data indicates that globally men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than the general population, while transgender women are up to 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than all adults of reproductive age. The end of AIDS will not be achieved if their needs continue to be unmet.
"If we don't act now," Johnson continued, "the health goal to ensure that everyone can have access to affordable and high quality health services through Universal Health Coverage will not address the specific healthcare needs of LGBTI people and other marginalised groups."
Write Us In calls on the two people responsible for drafting the Universal Health Coverage text -- Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation, and Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank -- to make sure that the new health goal is fully inclusive and protects everyone.
Johnson concluded: "We have a window of opportunity to ensure that every one of us receives the healthcare we need, wherever we are. Let's not spend the next 15 years kicking ourselves that we should have acted."
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance supports partner organisations in nearly 40 countries to focus on those most vulnerable to HIV and believes that everyone has the right to access the HIV information and services they need for a healthy life.
More information about Write Us In can be found at www.aidsalliance.org/writeusin.