Discrimination and activism in Argentina: how many HIV+ activists in Argentina need to die due to lack of proper medical care before the human rights of people living with HIV are taken seriously?
M.I. Miravete Cicero1, D. Trinklein2
1Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina (Women´s Group of Argentina), San Telmo - CABA, Argentina, 2University of Vienna, Social Sciences - Sociology, Vienna, Austria
Issues: In Argentina, people living with HIV/AIDs (PLWHA) face discrimination by society and the State. Even within the NGO and human rights arena, they are often excluded. As a result, severe problems---such as lack of medication and abandonment (i.e., not giving PLWHA treatment)---are not widely visible. PLWHA´s complaints never reach discussions about policy analysis, because many PLWHA are cut off from networks, organizations, and other human rights actors.
Description: For the past three years, Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina (GMA) has tracked the situation of PLWHA in Argentina, with a focus on PLWHA in the penitentiary system. Using information from surveys and interviews/discussions with stakeholders, we compiled two shadow reports.We observed that some groups´ needs/concerns are not included in policy and practices discussions. Many PLWHA are impoverished and lack access to internet, networks, and other conduits to gaining visibility. And when human rights activists living with HIV/AIDS report discrimination they have experienced themselves, they are deemed ¨isolated incidents.¨ At least six Argentine activists have died in the past few years while fighting for their human rights and those of other PLWHA. Although Argentina has laws specifically protecting the rights of PLWHA, in practice, they are not followed.
Lessons learned: GMA fights to make the situation of PLWHA visible, advocating for individuals/groups, monitoring human rights violations, and ensuring that the State complies with international agreements. By spreading information through the available networks, GMA has increased visibility of PLWHA nationally and internationally. Through participating in international spaces, we have found that many countries have similar challenges.
Next steps: It is important not to remain silent. Rather than creating a new space, GMA believes we need to increase visibility in pre-existing spaces. The challenge is to reach out to most vulnerable/marginalized groups, so that their needs can be taken into consideration.
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