Call for Case Studies for the 45th PCB Thematic Segment on “Reducing the impact of AIDS on children and youth”

Deadline: October 21, 2019 COB, Geneva

The thematic segment provides an opportunity to:

  • Analyse the impact of AIDS on children, adolescents and youth through the life course from childhood to adulthood by age range [0-4] [5-9] [10-14] [15-24].
  • Identify countries and specific thematic areas where notable successes/progress in HIV-related outcomes for children, adolescents, and youth have been achieved and discuss the key factors that led to those successes.
  • Identify the key priority actions that will allow countries, with different epidemiological contexts, to scale-up of rights-based HIV prevention, treatment and care and programmes and to protect HIV-related human rights by age group, location and population specificities.

UNAIDS is seeking examples of good practices of reducing the impact of AIDS on children and youth to inform the thematic segment background note and the discussions during the segment. Some submissions may also be selected to be presented during the Thematic Day on 12 December 2019.

Specifically, UNAIDS is seeking examples of policies, programmes and other actions in the following areas:

  1. Data driven programmes and initiatives to identify where new HIV infections are occurring and to optimize PMTCT delivery and maternal and infant services to address gaps.
  2. Examples of scaling up and expanding access to timely diagnosis and treatment for children living with HIV.
  3. Examples of developing, introducing and actively scaling up better treatment options for HIV and HIV-associated infections across the lifecycle.
  4. Successful programmes to retain children, adolescents and youth, including adolescents and youth in key populations and adolescent girls and young women in care and to achieve viral suppression.
  5. Successful HIV prevention programmes for adolescents and youth, including for adolescents and youth in key populations and for adolescent girls and young women.
  6. Examples of programmes to empower and engage adolescents and youth in the HIV response as beneficiaries, partners and leaders.
  7. Programmes that address the root factors driving the vulnerability of young key populations as well as adolescent girls and young women to HIV (gender inequality, early marriage, gender-based violence, age of consent laws, criminalization of key populations, legal impediments to access to harm reduction, etc.).

Submissions are accepted in English and French. All the submissions received before the deadline of Monday, 21 October 2019 will be compiled in a document on good practices which will be posted on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board website.

The submissions must be made through the electronic submission form here.

45th PCB Meeting Documents

Here are the links to documents related to the upcoming 45th PCB Meeting (10-12 December 2019):

Documents of the meeting:

Documents will be uploaded as they are released on the UNAIDS website. Updated as of 12 November 2019, 07:00 CET (Geneva)

​44th PCB - Intervention by Wangari Tharao - Agenda Item 9 Thematic Segment

Delivered by Wangari Tharao, North America NGO Delegate

There are both challenges and opportunities to integrate the HIV response into UHC. We have fought to ground the HIV response on rights-based approaches, equity, determinants of health, and sexual rights and reproductive health rights and justice. We will not compromise on any of these hard-won gains in the move to UHC.

Yet the systems we are being asked to trust and into which we are being asked to integrate are the very systems that, rather than being accessible to all, do not engage migrants, people who use drugs, sex workers, gay and bisexual men, people of trans experience, people in prison and other closed settings, and young girls. Can we really trust these systems to serve us in UHC?

As a migrant woman living in Canada, I am not a stranger to Universal Health Coverage. It is the system that serves me and other Canadians. But I was not always a Canadian citizen. I was once a woman without status and was not covered. More than 45% of women who access primary healthcare services at my organization in Toronto have no health coverage, yet they are living in the global North, in a country with one of the most comprehensive UHC plans. Having no health coverage and no income to pay for healthcare services is tantamount to a death sentence for a person living with HIV.

There are so many questions for the HIV response. I will mention only a few:
• Does the universality of UHC cover undocumented migrants and in what ways will it do that?
• How will UHC be universal in countries where both people and their health needs are criminalized?
• How will UHC be universal in places where stigma, discriminaition, and even persecution of key populations is the norm?
• What role will key populations play in planning, delivering, and monitoring of UHC?

Putting the last mile first includes answering these questions. As members of the NGO Delegation, we call on member states, Co-Sponsors and UNAIDS to ensure that the progress we have made in the HIV epidemic is not lost in the rush to UHC. UHC must be comprehensive, people-centred, and community-led. If it is not, it will never be universal.

Photo from UNAIDS Communications and Global Advocacy

​44th PCB - Intervention by Valeriia Rachynska - Agenda item 9 Thematic Segment

Delivered by Valeriia Rachynska, Europe NGO Delegate

The 30 years of the epidemic showed that meaningful involvement of PLHIV including women, girls and adolescents and key populations - such as sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, people in closed settings, people of trans experience - at all stages of planning, implementation and evaluating programs increases the effectiveness of the national and global responses to HIV and other health challenges.

But let us remember that key populations in many countries are still criminalized and the lack of human rights-based and structural barriers continue to keep people away from health services. 68 countries still criminalize men who have sex with men. In many countries, abortion is considered a crime. Sex workers are subject to criminalisation and legal oppression in almost every country in the world. In these cases, the slogan “leave no one behind” will remain a rhetoric.

We can develop adequate service packages for all key populations, but we need to ensure that key populations are not left behind due the threats of imprisonment, stigma, and discrimination. Decriminalization of key groups, removal of punitive laws, access to sexual reproductive health and rights, including safe abortion, addressing structural barriers to health access, harmonization of national legislation according to the recommendations of WHO and respect for human rights must be the basis of UHC.

The other point is financing. Countries are facing barriers to transition to national funding and “middle-income” definitions hide inequalities within the countries. The UHC system assumes it can reach everyone. Think about people who use drugs and indigenous people. Countries do not keep good data on these groups, and healthcare systems often exclude them.

We urge governments to put the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the first place. And social protection for all must be also considered in this conversation. It is with equal access for these groups that the new system must differ from the existing one. This requires changes in the policy and financing system, when socially vulnerable communities will not be faced with a choice: to pay for medical services or for food and shelter. But the question remains: how will advocacy, community mobilization, capacity development, human-rights related projects be funded?

Ensuring universal health coverage as a global goal is a good goal. But to achieve it requires the development of sustainable international exchange and cooperation, international and national initiatives that, together, will help to foster joint investments and improve collaboration. And in all of that, community-led organizations and community-led responses must be at the center of any new approach. Thank you.

Photo from UNAIDS Communications and Global Advocacy

44th PCB - Intervention by Millie Milton - Agenda 9 Thematic Segment

Delivered by Devanand Millie Milton, Latin America and the Caribbean NGO Delegate

Good afternoon, all.

My name is Devanand Millie Milton.

I was torn apart last Friday as I left my country to attend the PCB meeting. I have left behind one of my Trans sister who lies in the morgue, waiting for her family to claim her body for burial. She died of HIV related illnesses. In my country, HIV medicines are available, but after many years of hard work. Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier for us to access HIV care and treatment. As an HIV positive Trans woman, this can also be my reality and it scares me.

The barrier to healthcare for the transgender population manifests in various forms: systemic discrimination, health service provider biases, and lack of knowledge. Shockingly, members of the transgender community lack access to information on sexually transmitted infections and resort to self-injecting hormones instead of seeking proper medical services. The lack of access to knowledge and appropriate services amongst the transgender population, despite being highly vulnerable to STIs, inevitably puts our health at risk.

At the micro-level, many healthcare providers do not exercise empathy and understanding in dealing with transgender patients. Discussions around UHC in the policy and the data landscape must give special focus to marginalised communities like transgender people and give us the preventative and curative health services we need to live a healthy life.

The World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report on UHC published in 2017 does not include the term ‘transgender’. This speaks to the fact that marginalized groups are excluded in UHC discussions.

Does this mean that Key Populations especially transgender communities will be left behind?

I am hopeful that Universal Health Coverage will roll out to meet our Health Care needs and do not exclude us and any actions on UHC need to utilize a rights-based approached and be grounded in equity, determinants of health and sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly for key populations.

In the spirit of inclusivity, UHC should start with considering the needs of the transgender community. The fact that UHC implementers do not consider centering the needs of the trans community as feasible is part of the problem. UHC should strive to make healthcare a safe space where anyone can get access to dignified health services, which is a basic human right. I know from personal experience that just putting up a clinic will not result in stigma and discrimination-free healthcare.

I am calling on Member States not to leave us to the fringes of society.
Thank you.

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