SUPPORT TO ACTIVISTS WORKING WITH WOMEN LEAVING WITH HIV IN CENTRAL ASIA
HIV-related discrimination and stigma has devastating impacts and contradicts “leaving no one behind” principle and human-rights based approach driving the Spotlight Initiative. In Central Asian countries HIV status prohibits women to access specialized social services of crisis centers for survivors of violence. On 8-10 September 2022, the regional programme in partnership with UNDP and UNAIDS supported interactive training for specialists and activists working with women leaving with HIV.
Distressing conclusions of the recent study on the architecture of response to GBV in Central Asian countries pointed at general shortage of crisis centres providing safe accommodation to victims/survivors of violence and their children, and severe deficit of staff with required qualifications. Barriers to reporting or seeking care from formal sources include shame and stigma, discriminatory and stereotypical attitudes toward victims, perceived impunity for perpetrators, availability and accessibility of services to survivors of violence and lack of awareness of available services or access to such services. Existing shelters in all Central Asian countries are not adequately equipped to accommodate women with disabilities and completely deny services of safe accommodation to women leaving with HIV subjected to violence.
Activists working with women leaving with HIV from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan shared their stories of abuse and denial. They received per-to-peer support and counselling from reputable HIV-consultants and coaches on how to cope with stress, prevent professional burnout, physical and emotional exhaustion in their work with key population groups. The meeting also took stock of on-going efforts to ensure that human rights of women leaving with HIV are respected and their needs in access to healthcare, social protection and justice are met. The discussion proved that leaders of the community are prepared to present the case against ignorance of the ways of HIV transmission and stigma and lead the dialogue with key government agencies and legislators at different levels on how to address existing legal and institutional barriers.
For further details, please contact Ms. Natalia Maqsimchook, UNDP Project Officer, email@example.com