End the Stigma with Zero Discrimination Day

Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. North Shore Pride stands for Zero Discrimination and joins international organizations in commemorating Zero Discrimination day each year on March 1. 

While non-discrimination is a human right, according to World Healthcare Organization (WHO): “Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions.”

Zero Discrimination Day was created by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé in 2014 as a direct response to international stigmas surrounding those who have HIV/AIDS. 

“Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, to live free from discrimination, coercion and abuse,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Discrimination doesn’t just hurt individuals, it hurts everyone, whereas welcoming and embracing diversity in all its forms brings benefits for all.”

Zero Discrimination makes it possible for HIV prevention interventions to reach less visible and fringe members of society, like drug users and those in prison, but it also provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ adults to gain access to healthcare that might be denied them based on existing stigmas. 

In 2019, The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) announced a new partnership with Frontline AIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), NCD Alliance, STOPAIDS, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+). 

The partnership aims to develop a framework for a comprehensive model of measuring quality of life of people living with HIV, including measuring the impact of community-led interventions in order to make a strong investment case for these services.

How Stigma and Discrimination Affects LGBTQ populations:

In January of this year, the American Medical Association released a study showing the disparities in LGBTQ healthcare in the United States. Here’s what they discovered:

  • Sexual and gender minorities face high rates of stigma and discrimination that ultimately prevent visits to health care professionals altogether.
  • Transgender people are eight times more likely to report a suicide attempt in their life relative to cisgender people.
  • Policies that deny services to LGB people are linked to a 46% increase in the proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults who report mental distress.
  • LGBT seniors are more likely to have poor general health, more chronic conditions, higher rates of disability, and more psychological distress.
  • Lesbian and bisexual older women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and are more likely than heterosexual women to have multiple chronic conditions.
  • Bisexual and transgender adults are more likely to live in poverty, which heightens their risk for health care disparities and poor health.

It will take a unilateral effort by international healthcare organizations to reduce the stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ healthcare and Zero Discrimination Day makes it possible for those who stand for it to join together and make their needs known. 

Sources:

UNAIDS – Official Site
HIV Stigma Indez – GNP+
Joint United Nations statement on ending discrimination in health care settings – World Healthcare Organization
UNAIDS urges everyone to make some noise for zero discrimination – UNAIDS
Do More Than Make Some Noise – UNDP
LGBTQ Health Care Disparities Addressed By AMAF – The Rainbow Times
American Medical Association to address LGBTQ health disparities – QVoice News

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