Photo:  Condom Distribution, 2012Photo: Condom Distribution, 2012

HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and other diseases contribute to the poverty level of every country, Belize is no exception.  With a population of 333,200 (mid-year 2009 estimate), and 42% under the age of 25 years old, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country poses intense challenges to the social and economic fabric of the country.  A large, unreached and unprotected adolescent and youth cadre are exposed to associated risk with regards to HIV transmission.

"Accelerating the Pace: Reaching Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations with Critical Services" Global Fund Round 9, Belize, Project, then came at an ideal time for implementation from December 2010 to November 2012, with the overall objective to "halt the spread of HIV with a special emphasis on young people 15-24".

UNDP Belize as principal recipient has been working with Government Ministries and Civil Society partners on achieving two main outcomes:

1.  Health systems in place that promote and support universal, affordable access of Belize populations to adequate prevention, health care (including Sexual and Reproductive Health), nutrition and a safe, healthy and clean environment.

2.  Integrated sector-wide approach to combating HIV/STI and TB in place at all levels (national, sub-national, primary health care).

The third expected outcome of the project is to make strategic contributions to strengthening the coordination and monitoring capacity of the Country Coordination Mechanism, the National AIDS Commission.

HIV/AIDS - A Human Rights Issue

Alt text for imageRural Areas Receive Condoms, Belize

It is a well-known fact that persons living with HIV AIDS are subject to stigma and discrimination, and that their very life is threatened when negative actions against their employment, social life, access to basic services and medical treatment are inflicted due to stigma and discrimination.

The “National Dialogue on Human Rights in Belize, Scaling up access to legal services for most at risk populations”, brings an emphasis of providing protection of the human rights of persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.

The action aims to 1.  advance human rights based and HIV-sensitive legal reform in the country through the 1st National Dialogue on Human Rights in country; 2. empower most at risk populations in Belize to exercise their human, sexual and reproductive rights to reduce their vulnerability to HIV; and 3.  increase access of most at risk populations in Belize to effective and quality legal services.