aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
October 2017

Oct 30, 2017


A Hashtag with Consequences?

Dear aidsfocus readers,

The #metoo hashtag is currently receiving worldwide attention, revealing the extent of sexual harassment, assault and rape experienced by women. In the last few days women from all over the globe have been using social media to make their experiences of sexual violence public. The numbers are staggering and the outcry is vehement! The background to all this is the scandal surrounding the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein who is accused of having sexually assaulted and raped women in the film industry.

Sexism, violence, misogynist comments and acts are part of daily life for women throughout the world, even in the 21st century. And even a US president can unabashedly proclaim his sexism in public. Trump’s misogynist utterances and attitudes are reflected to devastating effect in his politics, to the detriment of millions of women and girls. He was scarcely in office before he reintroduced the "Global Gag Rule" (MMS News from 7 February 2017). His further announcement to immediately withdraw all payments to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was met with horror. These decisions not only have wide-ranging consequences for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls but also for the HIV/AIDS prevention integrated into these programmes. No AIDS education, no contraceptives, no sexual counselling! A bitter blow to hard-won women's rights and a violation of the human right to make free choices.

UNAIDS' Successful Course at Risk

It could also prove to be a bitter blow for UNAIDS, destroying its successful course of recent years. Although UNAIDS director Michel Sidibé is still confident the cuts will fail to gain a majority in the US Congress, it is also clear to him that if funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund is slashed as has been announced, the epidemic will once again threaten to run out of control (Interview in Global Health Now: HIV/AIDS: "From Despair to Hope"). And young women will once again be the ones who suffer the most. With 300,000 new infections in 2016, young women are still disproportionately affected by HIV and are not being adequately reached by prevention programmes. This means their situation and physical and mental health will further deteriorate.

Now is the time for those are who affected to shout out! And why not with a hashtag which will go around the world?

In our striking topic of the month you can also read about the effect depression has on the progression of AIDS and how the disease can, in turn, lead to mental health issues.

Martina Staenke
Collaborator communication Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Back to Life: How Psychosocial Support Can Facilitate HIV-Therapy

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - With an infection rate of around 15 percent among 15-to-49-year-olds, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe is far from over. Though a growing number of affected individuals now have access to drug therapy, this is not enough in itself to end the epidemic. People with HIV/AIDS also need to receive parallel psychosocial support. The around 6,000 patients at Prof. Ruedi Lüthy’s Newlands Clinic in the capital city of Harare, who come from very poor circumstances, are being supported with group therapies, home visits and peer counselling. The concept is meeting with success and leading to a marked decrease in incidences of treatments being abandoned and the consequent build-up of resistance to HIV drugs.


Information from the Swiss community of practice

LOVE LIFE: HIV-Diagnosen stabil, andere sexuell übertragbare Infektionen nehmen zu

Swiss Aids Federation - Die sexuell übertragbaren Infektionen (STI) haben 2016 in der Schweiz weiterhin zugenommen. Die gemeldeten Fälle nahmen bei der Gonorrhoe gegenüber dem Vorjahr um 20% zu, bei der Syphilis um 15% und bei den Chlamydien-Infektionen um 8%. Die Zahl der HIV-Fälle blieb hingegen stabil.


Es lohnt sich Vertrauen in die Jugendlichen zu setzen

terre des hommes schweiz - Irene Bush leitet zusammen mit der Kinder- und Jugendpsychiaterin Dr. Therese Steiner seit acht Jahren das Youth2Youth-Ausbildungsprogramm (Y2Y), das in unseren Projektländern sehr erfolgreich ist. Wir haben sie gefragt, woher dieser Erfolg kommt und was sie aus der Zeit gelernt hat.


Stefan Zimmerli übernimmt Medizinische Leitung der Newlands Clinic

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - Wie bereits Ende 2016 angekündigt, übernimmt PD Dr. med. Stefan Zimmerli nach einer sorgfältigen Einarbeitung nun offiziell die medizinische Leitung der Newlands Clinic. Prof. Ruedi Lüthy wird weiterhin aktiv dabei sein und bei Bedarf bei medizinischen Fragen beratend zur Seite stehen.


International news

Breakthrough as Uganda announces harm reduction pilot

www. - "The Ugandan Ministry of Health has made a breakthrough decision to pilot needle and syringe programmes (NSP), led by the Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) and Community Health Alliance Uganda (CHAU).


Tanzania illegally detains human rights lawyers for 'promoting homosexuality'

The Guardian - "Tanzanian activists also among group of 13 people held without charge after organising meeting to discuss legality of state clampdown on gay community.


Who is on the shortlist for Global Fund's new executive director? - "MANILA: After a difficult start to its search for a new executive director early this year, the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced Monday the latest set of candidates it is considering for the position.


Russlands Aids-Epidemie ist ausser Kontrolle

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - "Jeden Tag sterben in Russland 80 Personen an Aids, weil das Gesundheitssystem versagt und der politische Wille zum Kampf gegen die Epidemie fehlt. Teilweise behindert der Kreml die Aktivisten sogar.


Media Fumbles HIV Decriminalization Bill - "When it comes to California’s new HIV decriminalization bill, even respected liberal news outlets are getting it wrong. On Friday, California governor Jerry Brown signed a historic bill (SB 293) that finally addresses outdated laws that unjustly criminalize those living with HIV. That's cause for celebration. The only problem is, that's not how the story is being reported by the media at large—which ultimately undermines the bill’s intended goal of reducing stigma around the chronic condition.


Evelyn, a powerful and brave woman

UNAIDS - "When Evelyn learned that she was HIV-positive she was told she only had 5 years to live. Thanks to antiretroviral medicine she leads a normal life and is the proud mother of two boys. AIDS is not over but it can be."


Reports and Studies

Burundi: Working with young key populations - "The Link Up project in Burundi was coordinated by Alliance Linking Organisation Alliance Burundaise Contre le SIDA (ABS). Working with and for young people from key populations was innovative in the context of the HIV response in Burundi. Few actors have worked with these groups because of social taboos and stigma.


The western and central Africa catch-up plan — Putting HIV treatment on the fast-track by 2018

UNAIDS - The western and central Africa catch-up plan is a political instrument and a compact between countries and the international community that supports countries’ strategies and plans to quickly address bottlenecks, accelerate the national responses and reach a trajectory to achieve the 90–90–90 targets by 2020.


UNAIDS and UNFPA launch road map to stop new HIV infections

UNAIDS - "As part of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat, UNAIDS, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners have launched a new road map to reduce new HIV infections. The HIV prevention 2020 road map was launched at the first meeting of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition.


Reconsiderung Primary Prevention of HIV: New Steps Forward in the Global Response

Global Forum on MSM and HIV - "Lead by MSMGF in conjunction with global key population networks GATE, IRGT, GNP+, NSWP, ICW, INPUD, and the Platform, this new publication emphasizes the need for a nuanced strategy that combines the efficacy of new biomedical interventions with the guidance and leadership of communities that continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.


More than 4.1 million tested for HIV under VCT@WORK initiative

International Labour Organisation - "The Voluntary Counselling and Testing at work (VCT@WORK) initiative has reached over 6 million workers and family members. Of those, more than 4.1 million were tested for HIV and 103,000 referred to access anti retro-viral treatment.


UNAIDS warns that HIV-related stigma and discrimination is preventing people from accessing HIV services

UNAIDS - "UNAIDS has released a new report showing how stigma and discrimination is creating barriers to accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment services and putting lives at risk.



No ‘business as usual’ against non-communicable diseases

MMS Symposium, 2 November 2017, Basel - The MMS Symposium will address the challenges of tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by looking at the determinants of NCDs, the organisation of health care and the role of civil societies. A “business-as-usual” approach won’t suffice. NCDs kill 40 million people each year. NCDs are currently responsible for almost 70% of global deaths.


The end of Aids does not come by its own!

Action against AIDS, 28 November 2017, Berlin - Just a few years ago it seemed impossible to treat globally 18 Million people with HIV. The global community has the capacity to end the global Aids epidemic. The implementation of the Agenda 2030 with the sustainable development goals stands and falls with the regressions of devastating diseases, such as HIV, TB and Malaria. Action against AIDS Germany advocates since 15 years for a solidly united response to the epidemic. This is the time to take inventory with our members, partner organizations and the interested public.


AIDS 2018

The International AIDS Society, 23 July 2018, Amsterdam - The International AIDS Society (IAS) announced that Amsterdam, Netherlands will host the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). AIDS 2018 is expected to bring together some 18,000 participants from around the world. “The Netherlands is a great example of what happens when a government supports outstanding science and embraces evidence-based HIV programmes in combination with a robust commitment to human rights,” said Chris Beyrer, President of the IAS.

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