The International AIDS Society (IAS) has launched a new campaign to celebrate doctors, nurses, and other frontline health workers who deliver quality integrated HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to key populations, often in the face of discriminatory laws, traditions, and belief systems.
Supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Me and My Health Care Provider campaign gives members of key populations, including men who have sex with men and transgender populations, the opportunity to publicly acknowledge their health care workers for their efforts to provide inclusive health care services and create safe, secure, and supportive environments.
“The relationship between clients and their health care providers should be a sacred one, based on trust and mutual respect. But many men who have sex with men and transgender people visiting health care clinics are met with disdain, overt discrimination and, at times, even arrest,” said Elton John, singer, songwriter, and Founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “These are the attitudes that fuel the HIV epidemic and prevent those at the forefront of the epidemic from accessing life-saving HIV prevention, care, and treatment services.”
The launch of the campaign at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban featured health care providers from around the world who had been nominated by their clients for their outstanding work. In addition to being featured at the launch ceremony, the nominees will also be highlighted on social media, under the hashtag #DoingTheRightThing.
"Community health workers, nurses, and doctors working on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic are critical to our success in meeting the needs of key populations. But the efforts of these local champions are often overlooked," said Chris Beyrer, AIDS 2016 International Chair and President of the International AIDS Society. “There is no greater honour than to be able to celebrate these individuals today who are ‘doing the right thing’ as it is in ways like this that we can really tackle stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings.”
The campaign was developed under the auspices of IAS’s “Nobody Left Behind” initiative, which highlights the importance of addressing the HIV needs of all key populations to help end AIDS. By acknowledging and celebrating health care providers delivering exceptional service in the face of extraordinary challenges, the campaign hopes more service providers will begin replicating these efforts.
The full list of nominees and the names of those who nominated them include:
• Dr. Alexander Yurchenko, Kyiv City Clinical Hospital no. 5, nominated by Dzmitry Filippau of the Ukraine.
• Martha Angelica Carillo, independent consultant, nominated by Erika Castellanos of Belize
• Dr. Hector Javier Salvatierra Flores, Reference Center for STI ( ‘Alberto Barton’), nominated by Jana Villayzan Aguilar of Peru
• Dr. Hermine Meli , Yaoundé Central Hospital, nominated by Floribert Aikiki and Kevin Evina of Cameroon