44th PCB - Intervention by Valeriia Rachynska - Agenda item 6 Follow-up to the thematic segment from the 43rd Programme Coordinating Board meeting

Delivered by Valeriia Rachynska, Europe NGO Delegate

We welcome the report and decision points of the 43rd PCB Thematic Segment on mental health and HIV/AIDS––promoting human rights, an integrated and person-centered approach to improving ART adherence, well-being and quality of life.

It is important to implement evidence-based, people-centered, human rights and community-led policies and programs in relation to mental health and HIV. These cannot occur without addressing the social determinants of health - including the legal barriers to accessing HIV and mental health services, prevention, treatment, care and the negative impact of criminalisation of HIV, people living with HIV/AIDS and all our key populations – on mental health and on our Quality Of Life.

People living with HIV with mental health issues face multiple stigma and barriers to accessing HIV services, prevention, treatment, care and support. People who use drugs face overwhelming lack of appropriate services and support, unacceptable levels of stigma and discrimination, and daily fear of criminalisation.

Our Delegation wants to see these Decision Points effectively translated in the global and national HIV response. Mental health issues should be included in policies in order to promote the quality of life of people living with, at risk for and affected by HIV, key populations, including young people, women, girls and adolescents.

We ask for integrated and intersectional approaches on mental health and HIV in the upcoming new strategy of UNAIDS and in National Strategic Plans – and that they be developed and implemented with meaningful engagement and leadership of community-led organizations.

We also would like to see efforts and resources for sustaining and improving mental health, including preventing burnout of HIV and other service providers, among them health care, outreach and community workers.

We call on Global Fund, PEPFAR, development partners, and Member States, to commit funds in support of people-centered, rights-based and evidence-based integrated strategies and services for addressing mental health and HIV, stigma and discrimination and quality of life.

The most precious thing in the world is human life. We are now living longer lives due to the benefits of access to ART, prevention programs and services. Let us live this long life, with quality of life- without stigma and discrimination, without criminalisation, with respect regardless of our diversity or choices. You, who are in this room, can make this happen. Just strengthen your effort, your courage, political will, investment and collaboration. When you return to your countries, please remind your governments that all people have a basic right to live how they choose.

We cannot end the AIDS epidemic without tackling mental health issues, and addressing legal and policy barriers for all.

Photo from UNAIDS Communications and Global Advocacy


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