UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Kenneth Cole has made a powerful call for social justice in the AIDS response during his intervention at the 2017 Human Rights Council Social Forum, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3 to 4 October.
“It has been said that stigma has killed more people than the HIV virus,” said Mr Cole. “At its roots, this is about intolerance and discrimination. Social justice is non-negotiable.”
While delivering the keynote address at the session entitled Building Synergies for Health: Engaging Diverse Partners, Mr Cole also underlined that all sectors of society, including the private sector, must act together to end the epidemic.
“I believe that business brings to the table efficiencies, economies and a culture of change,” he said.
The Social Forum is an annual three-day meeting convened by the Human Rights Council. The theme of the 2017 session of the Social Forum is the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of the HIV epidemic and other communicable diseases and epidemics.
Mr Cole spoke at the Social Forum during a three-day visit to Geneva, where he met with the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, and engaged with UNAIDS staff, civil society activists and staff of other organizations engaged in the response to HIV.
As well as being UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador, Mr Cole is also chairman of amfAR and founder of the End AIDS Coalition.