Gjorgievska: Education is crucial in preventing stigmatization and discrimination of HIV positive people

1 December 2021 | Press Releases

The Wife of the President, Mrs. Elizabeta Gjorgievska, participated today in the panel discussion “Today we live with HIV”, on the occasion of December 1 – World AIDS Day.

The panel discussed the successful partnership of institutions and civil society in dealing with HIV infection, HIV testing services of civil society organizations, the importance of timely testing, key parameters on the epidemiological situation and trends of HIV infection in North Macedonia were presented, as well as patient testimonies.

Mrs. Gjorgievska expressed support to all our fellow citizens living with HIV, to their extended families and to all institutions and organizations that care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The President’s Wife pointed out that in the conditions of this prolonged pandemic of Covid-19, such discussions and exchange of experiences are a great opportunity to get acquainted with all the challenges and problems faced by institutions, as well as by people with HIV positive status.

In her address, Mrs. Gjorgievska referred to the discrimination and stigmatization faced by people living with HIV in exercising their rights in the field of health and social protection, as well as prejudices by the community.

“Crucial in preventing discrimination and stigmatization is education and raising awareness from the very beginning. The most important thing is to teach children the right habits and understandings”, Mrs. Gjorgievska said.

Pointing out that this is a global health issue and that approximately 38 million people in the world live with HIV/AIDS, Mrs. Gjorgievska said that exceptional progress has been made in our country in dealing with HIV/AIDS. Regarding the statistics, the number of newly infected persons is declining, and expressed hope that this downward trend will continue in the coming years.

“I hope that by the end of 2030, we will be able to meet those globally set goals, which is to have zero new cases of HIV infection in our country”, the President’s Wife said.

Emphasizing the importance of frequent, timely and anonymous testing and the importance of detecting the infection at an early stage, Mrs. Gjorgievska appealed to test not only the risk groups, but also all those who had risky behavior.

At the same time, she expressed strong support for the platform of civil society organizations, which are engaged in the implementation of the HIV program, and welcomed their excellent cooperation with state institutions.

“I want to give public support to all civil society organizations that cooperate with state institutions in providing psychosocial assistance, assist with testing, provide therapy, and support all people, not only those living with HIV, but also their families and friends, in order to practically enable them to lead a normal life and to be able to function normally regardless of their HIV status”, Mrs. Gjorgievska said in the discussion.

The panel discussion was attended by Dr. Milena Stevanovic, Medical Director at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions, Vesna Ilievska, Project Coordinator of HERA Association, Andrej Senih, Executive Director of “Together Stronger” Association for Support of People Living with HIV, Angela Aleksandrovska, educator and volunteer – HERA Youth and Ambassador David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation in Skopje.

 

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