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UN deplores killing of AIDS activist in Jamaica

UN agency deplores killing of AIDS activist in Jamaica

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has condemned the murder of an AIDS activist in Jamaica and called on the Government of the Caribbean island to bring his killers to justice and address the homophobia fuelling the spread of the disease.

“UNAIDS condemns the recent killing of Lenford ‘Steve’ Harvey, a Jamaican AIDS activist who, since 1997, worked tirelessly with Jamaica AIDS Support to contribute to the response to the AIDS epidemic. Steve Harvey’s death is a profound shock and loss not only to the AIDS movement in Jamaica and the Caribbean, but to the whole world,” the agency said on Wednesday.

Mr. Harvey, whose employer, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, is the largest HIV/AIDS outreach centre on the island, “will be remembered as an extraordinarily brave and committed activist, who, irrespective of the dangers of his work, represented the interests of people living with HIV and those at risk of infection,” UNAIDS said.

Legal and policy reforms play an important role in ensuring that the human rights of all are respected and helping to change broader social values and in setting standards, UNAIDS said. In that regard, it advocated stepped-up efforts by the Jamaican Government “to address homophobia and other causes of stigma and discrimination, which are fuelling the spread of AIDS not only in Jamaica but across the Caribbean.”

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