Noticias en inglés

CUBA: Louder voice for the communities

With the goal of strengthening the participation of communities in the seventh Financing Cycle (CF7) of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) alongside the Plataforma LAC (Latin American and Caribbean Regional Platform) did a number of technical assistance activities in Cuba[1].

In the Cuban context, key population groups such as men that have sex with men (HSH), transgender people (PT), people living with AIDS (PVVs), the RedCub+, Red HSH-Cuba and the Red TransCuba took part in the development of social discourse and the identification of priorities to include in the financing requests of the 7th Financing Cycle (CF7).

One of the core issues was reflected by the proposition made about Community-led monitoring (CLM) and a general social mobilization regarding the fact that the social associations such as Red TransCuba do not have legal status, which in turn limits its independent participation regarding the relevant topics. On this, Alfredo Mejía, consultant for the LAC Platform, mentioned the following:

Cuba is a particular case within the Region. The concept of civil society is practically non-existent there and community leaders are allied with the State. Even though they do a really good job, which is why Cuba has really great results in subjects related to health, (…) it is the State which organizes the response to AIDS and there is no independence like there is in other countries.

In this regard, it is difficult to speak of a community-led response on this island. However, problems that are found in other parts of the region were still identified by those that participated, signaling the importance of strengthening access to prevention services, both primary and secondary, and access to others such as the minimal prevention package for serodiscordant couples. It was also shown as necessary to train and sensitize healthcare workers and the public, the promotion of AIDS research and the update of healthcare protocols.

It is important to outline the necessity to make those who are deprived of freedom more visible; showing support to the strengthening of institutional capacities that enable the extension of differential services in different locales as well as the strengthening of the pre-existing and creation of new programs and projects directed towards the elimination of stigma and discrimination, with particular focus on the trans population, and an outlook that takes into consideration the effective accessibility of this collective to the workforce and the elimination of hetero-normative guidelines in healthcare institutions such as dress codes, constraining schedules, etc. It’s also imperative to have access to gender identity law.

Yoelkis Torres, coordinator of AfroAtenAs commented on Inter Press Service en Cuba in regard to this topic that: “the Código de las Familias that stands since 2022 grants certain rights. Others however, even though acknowledged, have issues being respected and protected (…) the guidelines have not been fully developed yet to carry out the law fully and we have a trans population, which has always been the most vulnerable, with a series of demands because of the large absence of rights that still exists in Cuba.”

In this sense, the key populations demand larger participation and the strengthening of the expansion to the response to AIDS. It’s important to highlight that by December of 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO/PHA) affirmed that around 32.000 people live with AIDS in Cuba and most of them have access to treatment. Annually, there’s between 1800 to 2000 new diagnosed cases, mostly in La Habana and Santiago de Cuba; provinces in which more than 50% of the cases in the country are found.

In the second round of financing requests, Cuba was the first country to sign the subvention from the Global Fund for a value of up to USD 11.5 million. Amongst the approved proposals there are programs for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS from the country, including the instruction of peer advisors and educators and an increase of access to antiretroviral therapy (more information here).

[1] Technical assistance activities were also carried out in Guatemala, Haití, Venezuela, Honduras and Panama.


País: Cuba

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Constanza Armas

Psicóloga | Argentina

Soy venezolana, migrante, feminista. Creo que la participación en los temas públicos de la sociedad civil organizada son la clave para una democracia verdadera. Creo en la libertad, por eso soy activista por los derechos humanos. Creo que todxs merecemos ser nombradxs, por eso intento tener mirada de género. Soy una indignada por los crímenes de lesa humanidad que ocurren desde hace años en Venezuela. Desde estos lugares escribo.

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