4. Combat stigma and discrimination within health systems
Healthcare professionals are vital to effective responses to HIV. However, this role can be severely compromised by stigma and discrimination within health systems. For example, the 2016 ECDC report on ‘The Status of the HIV Response in the European Union and European Economic Area’ highlights that 60% of countries reported that stigma and discrimination among healthcare professionals is a barrier to the provision of adequate HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID). In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, legal and policy barriers restricting access to health services
among key populations are also a continuing cause for concern. Training and education of healthcare staff should be a priority, both in order to raise awareness of stigma and discrimination within healthcare settings, and to help combat the underlying attitudes that give rise to it. Actions to combat stigma and discrimination within health systems should form an integral part of EU action in relation of the Sustainable Development Goals.