Throughout Latin America, discrimination and mistreatment against key populations is common and can pervade every aspect of their lives. Quite often these individuals are discriminated against by their own families, by law enforcement agencies and by society overall, so you can see how this would affect their access to quality information and health services. Rights violations and underrepresentation in decision-making processes also seriously undermine efforts to empower these groups for better preventing and tackling HIV/AIDS.
Not only are stigma and discrimination against these key populations high, but because the attitudes and beliefs that foster this are so pervasive, self-stigma among these communities is also an issue. It’s imperative that key affected populations in this region be empowered to advocate for themselves and demand their basic human rights.
What’s more, through the years, we have seen that empowering key populations has a ripple effect – by supporting and empowering these communities to manage risks and to access prevention, treatment and care services, we not only help combat HIV/AIDS among these populations, but we also help stem the spread of the epidemic among the broader society.