Remarks by Ambassador Laura F. Dogu
December 1, 2016, Managua
Good morning. 35 years ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reported the first case of HIV in the world. Today we celebrate World AIDS Day in a context of a better answer to combat the disease. However, stigma and discrimination in families, communities and institutions, predispose one to an increased transmission.
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supports countries to save millions of lives. The United States Government is supporting distinct efforts to reach the global goal to control this epidemic by the year 2030. PEPFAR has invested many resources in research and in development of evidence-based practices, increasing the impact of the activities that we finance. In Nicaragua, PEPFAR has financed projects for more than a decade, investing more than 25 million dollars, and benefitting more than 200,000 people.
We focus our efforts on those populations in economic and social disadvantage, discriminated for their sexual orientation and for being HIV positive: transgender population, gay and bisexual men and sex workers. These populations face large disparities and barriers in access to education, employment and healthcare. The United States Government is committed to address the challenges that confront sexual minorities and people living with HIV in our own country and in Nicaragua. At this event, through USAID’s PrevenSida project, we will grant $365,000 to nine NGOs to provide prevention and integrated healthcare services in Managua, Tipitapa, León, Chinandega y Bilwi.
We will also recognize NGOs and their leaders, champions in the national response against HIV. In the Knowledge Management Fair for HIV, we will share the results and recommendations of studies conducted in Nicaragua about determinants of the epidemic, effectiveness of prevention services, access to treatment, and HIV logistics. A difference of what has happened in the past, early access to treatment allows persons with HIV to live a long and productive life.
We urge you to continue working and collaborating to promote the human rights of all people without distinction of gender or sexual orientation, and in this way to improve the response to HIV in Nicaragua.
This will be a good way to remember those people that left us too early because of this disease. Let’s renew our commitment to put an end to this epidemic by quoting President Obama:
“The past 35 years tell a story that evolves from uncertainly, fear and loss, to resilience, innovation and hope.” Thank you very much.