World AIDS Day is held on 1st December every year to raise awareness of the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS and break the stigma around it. It is a day for us to show our support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died.
The theme for World AIDS Day this year is “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit.” It’s important to remember and commit to a group often marginalized within the discourse on HIV/AIDS – LBQTI (Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, and Intersex) women. While significant strides have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, LBQTI women continue to face unique challenges that demand attention, such as sexual violence, medical sexism, discrimination due to their sexual orientation, and stigma, in our efforts to eradicate this epidemic.
Most of the time, LBQTI women are dismissed from the conversation about AIDS because of their sex lives and the belief that if lesbian sex does not require penile penetration, queer women cannot contract HIV/AIDS. Because of this, LBQTI women encounter multifaceted barriers in accessing HIV prevention, treatment, and care. These discriminations, stigma, and systemic inequalities can make them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Limited access to comprehensive healthcare, cultural insensitivity, and societal prejudices can create barriers to these essential services, such as HIV testing, education, and support networks.
It is important we promote Inclusive healthcare, ensure accessible resources, and advocate for policy changes by creating a healthcare system that is culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of LBQTI women, providing accessible HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services tailored to LBQTI women, and advocating for policies that protect the rights of LBQTI individuals, this includes training healthcare providers, establishing safe spaces, and ensuring confidentiality.
As we commemorate World AIDS Day, let’s recognize the intersectional challenges faced by LBQTI women in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Empowering and supporting these individuals is not just a moral imperative but a crucial step towards achieving a world where everyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation, can access equal opportunities and live healthy lives free from stigma and discrimination.
Thank you for reading.