UNESCO Round Table on HIV/AIDS stigmatization and discrimination: an anthropological approachParis - The stigmatization and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS prevent a great many of the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world from seeking treatment for and information about the disease.
Many are even afraid to take the AIDS test because of the shame associated with the pandemic.
Stigma and discrimination are among the main causes for the limited success achieved during 20 years of prevention and struggle against HIV/AID which continues to grow exponentially, especially in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, killing 3 million people around the world every year. This is why UNAIDS is focusing on stigma and discrimination this year, as part of its annual awareness raising World AIDS Campaign which culminates on World AIDS Day (December 1). A different theme is chosen yearly for the campaign which has been held every year since 1997.
As part of the campaign, UNESCO (which is a member of UNAIDS) will hold a roundtable debate on the subject of "HIV/AIDS, Stigma and Discrimination: An Anthropological Approach" on Friday November 29 (UNESCO Headquarters, 3 to 5.30 pm). Claude Reynaut, an anthropologist and Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) will moderate the debate among a panel of anthropologists specializing in the study of HIV-related discrimination in different parts of the world.
The panellists will include: Alice Desclaux, of the University of Aix - Marseille (France), who will discuss the role of anthropological research in the face of AIDS; Evelyne Micollier, will speak about discrimination in China and Taiwan; Fatoumata Ouattara will speak about the situation in Burkina Faso; and Laurent Vidal will emphasize the social, economic and political aspects of the pandemic.
The purpose of the debate is to improve our grasp of the causes for the various forms of discrimination against people living with AIDS, their families and friends, in the community, the work place, at school, and in medical care. It reflects the realization that HIV/AIDS is not just a biological challenge but a social and human rights issue as well. This is why UNESCO and UNAIDS decided to adopt a cultural approach to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Its purpose is to take into consideration the cultural, religious, and community references and traditions of populations when seeking to influence their behaviour in the face of the pandemic.
The documentary film "Faso against AIDS" by Scott Rawdin and Alice Desclaux about AIDS in West Africa will be screened to introduce the debate.
Journalists wishing to attend the event should contact Roni Amelan, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section
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