MSMGF: The HIV response and the implications for our community
Professor of Health and Education, Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales, Peter Aggleton, has lamented the lack of access to treatment for many of the people around the world living with HIV and suggested the pursuit of science has shifted the control of the disease out of the social sphere and into the medical sphere, sometimes to the detriment of those living with the virus.
Aggleton made the remarks at the Men who have Sex with Men, Global Forum (MSMGF) Pre Conference.
He suggested the global target of ‘getting to zero’ would not be possible with infections rising, and increased hostility towards people living with HIV. He suggested those who discriminated should be named and shamed.
“I know the value of politics,” said Aggleton, “and the switch in discourses on HIV from doom and gloom to great optimism – but getting to zero – the declaration of health for all by the year 2030, will not happen. Infections are rising. Increasing hostility sometimes fuelled by new waves of oppressive laws are nothing more than state sponsored discrimination – and they should be named and shamed."
Aggleton said worst of all many of the nations that were perpetrating oppression against people with HIV, were the same countries that subscribed to the UN’s code of human rights.
He cited the inability of all people living with HIV to receive access to treatment as a major problem that was limiting our abilityto eliminating the virus.
“Many people completely lack access to treatments. Currently 18 million lack access to treatment - twice as many those who have treatment.
He described the new politics of HIV and said no one action – no matter how successful – will succeed, as long as we are forgetting about the fundamentals of human behaviour.
He suggested science had taken away the control of from those affected by thevirus and suggested we needed to remember the resourcefulness of gay men.
“Let us never forget gay and msm are not just vulnerable but remember our resources and strength in disaster.
He urged that we remember the past and think to the future.
“Let it never be forgotten that it was gay men who through conversations and debate, literally invented safer sex,” he said.
Adding, "let us all be part of this process. Science and medicine don’t have all the answers. Community, education and social science need to fight for space."