15 Feb 2019

Urgent: HIV Activists in Venezuela Need Our Immediate Help!

*Critical Update: Read this important statement from the Venezuelan Network of Positive People, RVG+ (Red Venezolana de Gente Positiva)

The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) expresses our grave concern over the health, safety and wellbeing of prominent HIV activists that are being targeted by the government of Venezuela in the midst of their devastating ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

As has been extensively reported, the people of Venezuela are suffering due to an extreme humanitarian crisis. As a result, people living with HIV, in particular, are experiencing distressingly high levels of food, housing and healthcare insecurity – including stockouts of ARV medications.

Most recently, GNP+ has received alarming news that the Venezuelan government has targeted and raided the Mavid Foundation, an organization that has been supporting access to medicines for HIV positive people during this crisis. The Venezuelan government has been systematically confiscating relief supplies and medicines being donated for those who need it most. Recently, HIV activists connected to the Mavid Foundation and the PLHIV movement in Venezuela, Jonathan Mendoza, Wilmer Alvarez and Manuel Armas Jhas, were detained in a raid. Late-breaking news suggests that they may have been released, but their conditions are currently unknown.

GNP+ is urging the international human rights community including UN Member States, the leadership of UNAIDS, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization to put pressure on the Venezuelan government to  protect the health and rights of all human rights defenders and citizens of Venezuela who are suffering through this ongoing crisis.

Further, people living with HIV in Venezuela are experiencing continual treatment interruptions and stock-outs of essential medicines and life saving antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) needed for their health and survival.  With a limited number of health professionals remaining in the country and frequent treatment interruptions, more and more people living with HIV are suffering and dying from easily preventable opportunistic infections.

GNP+ is calling on the global community of PLHIV and key population networks and civil society organizations to immediately support people living with HIV in Venezuela by getting the word out, putting a global spotlight on what is happening to people living with HIV and their networks in Venezuela.

For more information on supporting the ongoing effort to get medicines and emergency relief to people living with HIV in Venezuela, contact GNP+ directly at infognp@gnpplus.net or ICASO at icaso@icaso.org


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