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How Can We Use What We Know About the AIDS Fight to Defeat COVID-19?

September 10, 2020

To answer this question, let’s go back to the ‘80s when AIDS was first discovered…

Back then, the unknowns about the virus fueled public fear and uncertainty. There were tons of misconceptions about how the virus spread and no approved treatments. Marginalized communities were most vulnerable to infection and further discrimination.

Sound familiar?

Here we are in 2020 in the midst of a new, and still mysterious, pandemic. We have millions of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, a rising death toll, and no widely approved vaccine. Even though COVID-19 and AIDS are distinctly different, the experiences of living through these two pandemics reveals haunting similarities.

What’s the upshot?

Over the past 40 years of fighting to end AIDS, we’ve learned that human rights-based approaches and community empowerment must be at the forefront of any pandemic response. And we can apply this to fighting COVID-19. Check out these 7 key takeaways from UNAIDS:

  1. Communities are central
  2. No stigma and discrimination 
  3. Support the most vulnerable 
  4. Remove barriers to action
  5. No criminal sanctions
  6. International cooperation
  7. Be kind

(RED) is working closely with the Global Fund to ensure that these key takeaways are put into practice, but we need your help. Follow (RED) on social media to stay up to date on how you can help protect HIV/AIDS programs from the impact of COVID-19 and ensure everyone has equal access to health systems.