Breaking the poo taboo

On 22 July WaterAid is co-hosting a panel session at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

15 Jul 2014

The session on the subject of water and sanitation in HIV-affected communities will discuss the links between safe water, sanitation, hygiene and HIV. Hosted by WaterAid with presenters from CAFOD, Anglicare, and SAfAIDS, and chaired by the chairperson of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS, Pamela Nash. The session will draw on initiatives in Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Southern Africa and the UK.

Practitioners attending the session will leave equipped with actions for increasing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for people living with HIV. We will also discuss how to integrate the needs of people living with HIV into existing programmes.

The poo taboo

It is well documented that people living with HIV face high levels of stigma and discrimination because of their HIV status. A lack of knowledge and education about how HIV is transmitted can mean that people living with HIV are excluded from accessing basic services, such as safe water and sanitation.

However, people living with HIV are more susceptible to water-related illnesses and six times more likely to suffer from diarrhoeal diseases. Without access to safe water and sanitation, the risks of malnutrition and dehydration are increased for people living with HIV, and further strain is put on their ability to earn a living.

Why water is important

Access to water and sanitation are human rights. These essential services underpin human development and transform lives, enabling people to overcome poverty. Inclusive WASH programmes promote inclusivity and ensure all are able to participate fully, irrespective of any differences including HIV status.

This session is part of our ongoing work to reach the most marginalised people in the world’s poorest communities. As a member of the STOPAIDS Network, we are proud to work with the other participants in this session to raise awareness of the issues faced by people living with HIV.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #AIDS2014WASH and #AIDS2014.

Find out more about the 20th International AIDS Conference >

Read more about the importance of clean water and safe sanitation to people living with HIV and AIDS >