EATG Statement for Zero Discrimination Day: Our Rights, Our Health

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Brussels – 29 February 2024


1st of March marks Zero Discrimination Day and we underline this year’s focus to ‘protect everyone’s health, protect everyone’s rights’, as equity and inclusion are central to a successful response to HIV/AIDS and related epidemics.


In our experience, stigma and discrimination are the number one reason why HIV remains a burden in our societies and people’s lives.


HIV-related stigma strongly impacts the daily lives and well-being of people living with and affected by HIV. It limits people’s right to health and dignity. It is the key barrier in achieving the UNAIDS 2025 global targets. It reduces individual and public health outcomes from prevention to early diagnosis, linkage to and retention in care and quality of life.


HIV remains one of the most stigmatised diseases in almost every culture worldwide. HIV-related stigma and discrimination can have a negative impact at each step in the HIV care continuum, starting with getting tested all the way to achieving viral suppression. Stigma and discrimination are closely interconnected with mental health and can lead to increased risk behaviors, a barrier in seeking help, delayed diagnosis and care initiation, poor retention in care, poor treatment adherence, poor mental health, poor health outcomes and poor quality of life.



People most vulnerable to HIV often belong to groups that are already stigmatised and discriminated against by society. This additional burden of overlapping stigmas related to gender, sexual orientation, race and socioeconomic status can further amplify the difficulties in accessing healthcare and support services and achieving well-being.


EATG therefore calls for systemic changes to enable access to essential services, ensuring that people can seek and receive care in a safe environment free from prejudice, as well as enjoying equal rights. We need an integrated approach, one that promotes mental, emotional, and social well-being, one that challenges discrimination and stigma so that individual living with or affected by HIV/AIDS can lead a fulfilling life.


Our Rights, Our Health




Join EATG’s Stigma-Free campaign

Stigma-Free HIV & Mental Health campaign focuses on how stigma and discrimination have a serious negative impact on the mental health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. The campaign also emphasises that improving integration across HIV and mental health services is central to addressing this situation.


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