World AIDS Day 2009: People living with HIV central to effective global HIV response
Monday, 30 November 2009
Amsterdam, 1 December 2009 On World AIDS Day 2009, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) is highlighting and calling for continuing support for the leadership of people living with HIV in the HIV response. In 2009 we have seen tremendous achievements showing the Greater Involvement of People living with HIV (GIPA) in action. However, research shows barriers remain for people living with HIV to access services and be meaningfully involved in the development of the HIV response.
Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention is now the new paradigm in the engagement of PLHIV in achieving universal access. Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention is a framework which aims to shape how governments, policy makers, programmers and international agencies work with people living with HIV: moving away from treating people living with HIV as passive targets of prevention messages, to recognising them as active participants in the HIV response.
People living with HIV need to be recognized as individuals with the same rights as others in terms of accessing prevention, treatment, care and support as well as the ability to enjoy healthy and productive lives, free of stigma and discrimination.
Governments, policy makers and international agencies need to acknowledge the cultural, social, economic and policy environment in which people living with HIV live. These considerations should be in place from the design to the implementation phase to the monitoring and evaluation of any programme targeted at people living with HIV, and include specific considerations for most-at-risk populations and women, such as harm reductions, social economic support and prevention of gender-based violence.
People living with HIV must be supported in fulfilling their sexual and reproductive health and rights potential and be enabled to make informed choices about their families and the health of their partners and children. Furthermore, effective prevention, treatment, care and support, laws must enable HIV-positive individuals to protect themselves and others. Not through fear but through empowerment and with dignity.
For World AIDS Day 2009 GNP+ highlights four programmes that demonstrate how meaningful involvement of people living with HIV can provide significant contributions to the national and international HIV response.
To this date less than half of people living with HIV in low and middle income countries who are in urgent need of treatment have access to antiretroviral drugs, which has significant impact on prevention, care and support programmes implemented in any part of society.
Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention
Defined during a technical consultation co-organised by GNP+ and UNAIDS in April 2009, Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention is a new framework based on a human rights approach. It reinforces the leadership of people living with HIV in the design, programming, implementation, research, monitoring and evaluation of all policies and programmes that affect them. In Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention, preventing HIV transmission is a shared responsibility of all individuals irrespective of HIV status, and sexual and reproductive health and rights must be recognized and exercised universally. GNP+ is releasing the official report of the meeting during World AIDS Day 2009.
HIV Discordant Couples: An Exploratory Study
The framework of Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention has been informed by findings from an exploratory study of the coping strategies and life choices made by HIV discordant couples. GNP+, the University of Witwatersrand and the Human Sciences Research Council conducted this study in South Africa, Tanzania and the Ukraine. In the study HIV discordant couples speak of experiences of stigma and discrimination and emphasize the tension between their desire to have children and their fear of infecting their HIV-negative partner.
“HIV discordant couples want to stay discordant and often need help to maintain their health,” Kevin Moody, International Coordinator/CEO at GNP+, states, “Couples where one partner is living with HIV are seeking ongoing information and counseling to enable them to have healthy, safe and satisfying sexual relationships in a supportive and non-discriminatory environment”.
Summary HIV Discordant Couples Study (1.2 Mb)
Global Criminalisation Scan
Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention requires protective laws and an enabling policy environment to achieve public health gains. Criminalisation of people living with HIV is a barrier for prevention and treatment, care and support of people living with HIV. A scan of the legal environment shows that countries continue to use punitive laws which have a potentially negative impact on public health. Over 80 countries have laws that criminalise same sex relations and over 60 countries have HIV related restrictions on entry stay and residence . GNP+’s Global Criminalisation Scan contains information on over 150 countries and territories with regards to using the criminal law to prosecute HIV transmission.
Click here to read more about the Global Criminalisation Scan
GIPA Report Card – findings from Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia
NEPHAK, NEPWHAN and NZP+, which are the leading national networks of people living with HIV in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia, implemented the GIPA Report Card to measure their countries’ application of the GIPA principle in their national HIV responses. Findings demonstrate considerable strides in institutionalising the meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in the HIV response and moving from policy to practice. The report card shows that the contribution of people living with HIV is often only on a voluntary basis and few people living with HIV are involved in high-level decision-making. Poverty and stigmatization remain considerable barriers to achieving true involvement of people living with HIV.
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