This blog is one of the main ways that the NGO Delegates and the CF Team share information about the work of the Delegation and forthcoming PCB meetings. We encourage you to comment and/or ask questions. The posts are listed in order of most recent. Navigate this page by using the search function or the checklist system on the left to narrow down your search by PCB meeting, theme, or any other tag or key word.
Mickey Meji, an incoming Africa NGO Delegate and a member of the African Sex Worker Alliance, responds to the presentation of the NGO Report by highlighting the effects of criminalization on sex workers in her community.
I would like to commend the NGO Delegation for their report. I was part of the community participating on the focus group discussions. I can personally affirm that the law came out as a huge barrier to achieving the goal of the 3 Zeros.
Criminalization of same sex behaviours among adults, preferred gender identities and choice of occupation hinders the progress of interventions targeted at eliminating the pandemic. Sex workers are arrested for having condoms on them and this is being used as evidence that one is indeed a sex worker. This discourages these men and women from carrying condoms on them and therefore increases their chances of practicing unsafe sex. When “corrective rape” takes place these people are not able to report or seek services that could prevent them from transmission because their sexual orientation is criminalized. We would all agree that if we do not reach all key populations when making interventions, achieving the goal of zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero aids-related deaths remains just a dream.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, we now know that what we have in place and have for the past thirty years since the first diagnosis is not working. The time for change has come and it is now, ladies and gentlemen. We call for these laws to be eliminated so that these groups are able to realize their basic health and human rights, including access to HIV-related and other health services without the fear of being discriminated against. We also support the NGO report and call upon Member States with the support of UNAIDS to take steps towards decriminalizing adult consensual sex work; by removing laws that reduces sex workers’ access to health and justice services and labour rights.
My name is Edwin Bernard, I am a gay man living with HIV from the United Kingdom.
As a community based journalist, blogger and policy consultant I have spent the past four years focusing almost exclusively on the criminalization of alleged HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.
For the record, I would like to support the key findings, recommendations and conclusions of the NGO report.
In my experience, many people living with HIV and those most at risk of HIV – perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands, possible more – are negatively impacted by punitive laws, policies and practices in all Member States.
I will focus on the subject with which I am most familiar – HIV criminalization.
The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board welcomes its civil society observers to the 29th board meeting!
We have an enthusiastic and diverse group of NGO representatives at this board meeting. With legal environments and the HIV response being discussed in the NGO Report and the day-long legal thematic to complement the Commission on HIV and Law‘s expected recommendations in 2012, this is an exciting time to follow the Board’s work.
CrowdOutAIDS, a UNAIDS youth strategy initiative, has its own team represented at the meeting. You can follow Aram and Jennifer‘s tweets and blog to get an insider’s view of the meeting. Their blog also features video interviews with current and incoming delegates:
Over the weekend, NGO Delegates took part in a day-long induction for incoming delegates and a full day of strategy discussions, including a briefing by the UNAIDS Secretariat, ahead of the 29th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board meeting.
We look forward to meeting with the civil society observers who will be joining us soon.
Documents are now available for the upcoming 29th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board meeting which will take place from 13-15 December 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. This list will be updated as documents are posted to the UNAIDS website.
For those of you registered to attend, please plan to join the NGO Delegation for a pre-meeting in Geneva on Monday, December 12th from 3 to 5pm. An invitation for this meeting will be emailed to you. The deadline for registration for the PCB has passed.
For our special World AIDS Day 2011 series on women and girls in HIV responses, NGO Delegate for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mabel Bianco, reports on the problems of implementing the Global Fund’s gender strategy and advocates for ways the Global Fund can ensure its Strategy speaks to and for women and integrates their needs in the HIV response.
The Global Fund’s Gender Equality Strategy, implemented as of 2009, recognizes the staggering gender inequalities that fuel the HIV, TB and malaria epidemics and aims to strengthen the response to the three diseases for women and girls through increased funding of programs and activities that address gender inequalities and the creation of mechanisms for increasing their participation in these programs and in the structure of the Global Fund.
But, what are the opinions of women around the globe, who it is supposed to target, on how successful this has been? This is the question that drove the creation of a virtual consultation and focus groups to find out the views, experiences and recommendations of diverse women working on the ground in the response to the epidemics. This consultation, developed in July and August 2011 by the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM) and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), complemented a broader independent evaluation also undertaken this year of both the Gender Equality Strategy and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Equality (SOGI) Strategy. The consultation by FEIM and GCWA aimed to strengthen and ensure that women’s voices were adequately incorporated and expressed to better inform the Global Fund’s future actions regarding women and girls.
By working with regional and national focal points, and in eight languages, the consultation gathered the responses of 937 women in 97 countries around the globe. Their overall message was that the Gender Equality Strategy is not known and that much work is needed to achieve the implementation of the Strategy and to ensure women’s knowledge of and engagement with it across the globe.
For our World AIDS Day 2011 series on women and girls in HIV responses, NGO Delegate for North America, Ebony Johnson, calls for increased prioritization of and support for women-centric HIV prevention methods and asks the question of where to go from here in light of recent trials.
This past year has been a remarkable time for HIV prevention research. With the release of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research for South Africa (CAPRISA) microbicide trail results, we caught a glimpse of possibility: it was proof that a gel to prevent the transmission of both HIV and herpes simplex virus 2 was within view. I remember being there in Vienna on a hot summer day at the 2010 International AIDS Conference. It was standing room only. When the study results were announced, everyone’s eyes were full with tears; there was thanks and optimism for the new prevention revolution that appeared to be on the horizon. It was a glimmer of hope in achieving an AIDS-free world.
On 28 November 2011, NGO Delegate for Europe, Mat Southwell, presented an overview of the 2011 NGO Report at a UNAIDS Member States meeting in Geneva ahead of the Programme Coordinating Board gathering from 13-15 December. After the presentation, States had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss its findings.
The NGO Report focuses on the experiences of people in different policy and legal environments and how those affect local HIV responses. You can read the full report in seven languages on our special Report page. It will be officially presented to the Board at the upcoming meeting.
You can watch the full presentation and view the accompanying slideshow below.
On this year’s World AIDS Day, UN and civil society partners jointly announce a global call for nominations for the 2012 Red Ribbon Award. The award, which will be presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference in July 2012, honours community-based organizations for their contributions to the response to the AIDS epidemic. The call is issued on World AIDS Day as people around the world come together in global solidarity for people living with HIV. Winning a Red Ribbon Award is highly coveted by community organizations around the world. The recognition it brings often leads to other awards, more visibility, more funding and other types of additional support.
The biennial award will be given to 10 organizations that have shown outstanding community leadership and action on AIDS. The five award categories are:
Prevention of sexual transmission
Prevention among people who use drugs
Treatment, care and support
Advocacy and human rights
Stopping new HIV infections in children and keeping mothers alive; women’s health.
Each recipient of the award will receive US$ 10,000. Representatives of each winning body will present the work of their organization, their priorities, the challenges they faced and their approaches to community engagement in a dialogue space at next summer’s XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, when the awards will be presented.
Nominations will be accepted from 1 December 2011 through 29 February 2012. Submit nominations on-line at www.redribbonaward.org, where further information can be found. Community-based organizations (CBOs) working to halt and reverse the spread of HIV are encouraged to apply.
UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) members participated last week in the annual Board field trip – this year to Kenya – that provides an opportunity to meet with government and community representatives and visit local HIV projects. NGO Delegates Nadia Rafif (Africa) and Rathi Ramanathan (Asia-Pacific) attended on behalf of the Delegation.
“With 1.6 million people currently living with HIV out of a population of 40 million, Kenya has the second largest epidemic in East and Southern Africa and the fourth largest globally.
The delegation also met with representatives of key populations at higher risk, which account for 30% of HIV transmission in the country. “Despite a restrictive legal environment for men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who inject drugs, Kenya has shown that programmes can be extended to key populations at higher risk with the commitment of national AIDS authorities,” said Nadia Rafif, the PCB NGO representative for Africa.”
NGO Delegate for Asia and the Pacific, Rathi Ramanathan, writes on the benefits of sex work decriminalization in response to recent debates in Australia that connect trafficking to migration and sex work.
For further reading, see Rathi’s past blog post on the challenges facing current sex worker advocacy and rights and how laws and the anti-trafficking movement are negatively affecting sex workers’ rights and access to HIV services
Recent revelations by the Four Corner expose on alleged “trafficking” for sex work in the backyard of Australia has brought attention again to the seemingly unsurmountable issue of human trafficking
While there is a pressing need to deliver human rights to migrant sex workers in the region, the debate and policy response must consider the complex issues at the heart of the problem of human trafficking and not simply reduce it – as is too often the case – to the need for stronger enforcement.
Part of the solution must deal with the fact that difficult conditions that sex workers have abroad in Asia makes Australia highly attractive as a destination to pursue sex work. As we saw from footage of the Four Corner episode and alleged by Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, and other sex worker groups in Asia and the Pacific, the desire to work in developed countries may have the unintended consequences of leaving sex workers from developing countries vulnerable to the crime of people trafficking. However, this does not mean that all migrant sex workers in Australia are trafficked but in fact there is mounting evidence that it is in fact the lack of access to safe migration pathways that makes sex workers vulnerable to trafficking.
The Communities Delegation is made up of individuals living with HIV, TB and affected by malaria, and its vision is one in which all communities living with, or affected by HIV, TB and malaria to have equitable access to quality services and support needed to prevent, treat and/or live with these infections within a conducive environment that respects human rights. The mission of the Communities Delegation is to ensure the voices and issues of people living with HIV, TB and affected by malaria influence the deliberations and decisions on investments and programmes of the Global Fund to achieve greater and sustained impact for communities.