Global Fund calls for end to discrimination to defeat disease

The Global Fund released a statement on Tuesday in honor of International Human Rights Day, stating that granting universal human rights is the first step to defeating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Tuesday marked the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was also five days after the death of Nelson Mandela. The Global Fund asked that International Human Rights Day honor Mandela and his vision for humanism.

"Mandela embraced otherness and spoke out for the forgotten," Executive Director of the Global Fund Mark Dybul said "Let's honor his memory and follow his exceptional example. Let's leave nobody behind in this fight."

The Global Fund said that discrimination among different groups of people perpetuates the health disparity regarding HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Global Fund said these infectious diseases affect marginalized populations, including sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, prisoners, transgender people, women, girls and migrants, and the disparity will continue until the discrimination ends.

"Ending stigma, discrimination and gender inequality is about accepting everybody into the human family," Dybul said. "It is also the only way to defeat these diseases."

The Global Fund said the first step to overcoming the health disparity is to accept all people "into the human family." The organization asked governments everywhere to accept all types of people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, and to grant them universal human rights as the first step to combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.