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Kingston community discusses HIV, human rights and gender-based violence

Submitted by unaidsadmin on Fri, 2015-12-11 00:00 - 0 Comments

This wasn't your typical neighbourhood hangout. On Human Rights Day residents of the downtown Kingston community of Norman Gardens filled the Church of God's hall to view and discuss films about HIV, violence against women and human rights, hear personal accounts and explore what they could all do to address these issues.

Through art and stories, the session shone a light on various dimensions of gender-based violence.

One young woman told of trying to escape the stress of family conflict and poverty by drinking and partying. One night she was drugged and raped. She became pregnant as result and now has a baby .

In one short film a daughter witnessed her mother being beaten. She in turn entered an abusive and ultimately deadly relationship as a young woman.  

"When you are being beaten in your home what can you do?" one young woman with a baby in her lap questioned.

The initiative which brought together young people, men and women was meant to spark both questions and answers. The event was hosted by Kingston Mayor, Dr. Angela Brown-Burke with support from the Jamaica United Nations Theme Group on Human Rights and Gender.

Brown Burke is among a group of Mayors from around the world who committed in 2014 to end the AIDS epidemic in their cities. The Fast Track Cities Plan aims to achieve the 90-90-90 targets--90% of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of people who know their status on treatment and 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral load.

But far more than HIV testing kits and antiretroviral drugs are needed to reduce the impact of HIV. Violence, vulnerability, shame and stigma all undermine gains, keeping people away from prevention and treatment services even where they are available. The central idea is that cities can contribute to national and global targets by building more equitable, inclusive and sustainable communities. The Fast Track Kingston City Plan aims to build a people-centred response, focusing on conversations and dialogue with communities.

"For the Kingston and St. Andrews Council, conversation is the first step to action," Mayor Brown Burke said.





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The UNAIDS team offers the Caribbean the broad expertise of cosponsors and other UN organisations in areas such as program development and management, women and child health, education, legal networking, community care initiatives and resource mobilisation. The goal is an expanded response to HIV in the region with the world’s second highest HIV prevalence.