aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
March 2018

Mar 28, 2018


Discuss with us on 2 May 2018!

Dear aidsfocus readers,

South Africa ranks among the countries with the highest incidences of rape in the world: every ten minutes a woman is raped there. Forty percent of people under the age of 18 report that they have already been raped at least once. These are inconceivable numbers! In particular, rape victims from the townships and rural areas are lacking professional support.

A broken healthcare system means that rape victims must bear not only the physical but also the psychological burdens of rape. The fear that they will not be believed or being told that what they have experienced does not count as rape means that many survivors do not realise they should have access to justice and medical care in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

As the recently publicised OXFAM scandal has shown, aid organisations have become a part of the problem! However, reports of the sexual exploitation of women at the hands of UN Peacekeepers and other organisations in conflict zones are nothing new. It is time to finally stop looking away and to take responsibility.

On 2 May 2018 the annual MMS/ conference on "Gender Based Violence: Approaches and challenges at community and advocacy level" will take place and address precisely these topics: outstanding experts will be reporting firsthand on how they are contributing to the alleviation of gender-based violence. We have invited a Congolese psychiatrist from Bukavu to report on the camps in Uganda. Abubakar Mutoka Balibanga from Terre des Hommes Schweiz will be describing his work with young people in Tanzania while our member organisation IAMANEH will be speaking about engaging men and boys and Médecins du Monde about the importance of cooperation between the medical and legal sectors. Vivian Onano – the UN Women Youth Leader from Kenya – will introduce her work as an activist in the battle for gender equality.

And, as a special guest, we are welcoming Tina Tinde from the IFRC. She will give an overview of the methods used to implement a survivor-centred approach in dealing with sexual harassment and abuse. In the subsequent panel we will discuss approaches to how sexualised abuse of power by aid workers can be prevented in future.

We are looking forward to welcoming you!

You can register here.


Carine Weiss


Project Leader, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Gender-Based Violence and HIV/AIDS in South Africa - Violence against women and girls is a structural problem in South Africa. It is a central cause of the high rates of HIV infection. Medical and psychological treatments pose great challenges to health workers because physical injuries and traumatisation exacerbate existing illnesses that are particularly caused by poverty and infrastructure deficiencies. All these are consequences of the racist apartheid system and the slow-moving process of change since the introduction of democracy in 1994. A number of state agencies and, above all, innovative women’s and health organisations are working hard to overcome these complex problems. (By Rita Schäfer) Photo: A demonstration of female AIDS activists © Rita Schäfer.


Information from the Swiss community of practice

Gender Based Violence: Approaches and challenges at community and advocacy level

MMS/ conference, 2 May 2018, Bern - Gender-based Violence (GBV), a generic term for “violence against women”, “sexual violence” or “intimate partner violence”, is a worldwide public health concern. GBV is monstrous, completely unacceptable, and must be stopped. Intimate partner violence - particularly sexual violence - is an underreported and hidden problem in many areas in Africa, South America and Asia, as well as in Europe.


HIV in sub-Sahara Africa: Testing and Treatment Start at Home Improves Therapy Outcome

SolidarMed/ Swiss TPH - Home-based HIV testing and prompt treatment with antiretroviral therapy increases the number of patients under treatment as well as treatment success. This is the key result of a clinical trial in Lesotho carried out by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, in collaboration with SolidarMed and the Government of Lesotho. The results published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) lead the way for future treatment strategies against HIV/AIDS in sub-Sahara Africa.


IWD2018: was die Männer dazu meinen!

Ruedy Lüthy Foundation, International Women's Day 2018 - Morgen ist internationaler Frauentag! Unsere Mitarbeiter Tinashe Mudzviti, Stefan Zimmerli und Walker Takaendesa wissen genau, was sie sich für die Frauen wünschen. Hören Sie selbst (Video auf Englisch)!


IWD2018: Ein «high five» auf die Frauen!

Ruedy Lüthy Foundation, International Women's Day 2018 - Heute ist Weltfrauentag! Was wünschen Sie sich für jede Frau? Schauen Sie, was die vier Newlands Mitarbeiterinnen Petronella Mudhokwani, Linda Chirimuta, Eleanor Kaziboni und Charity Hutete meinen!


Kuba wird die Behandlung von HIV und AIDS aus eigener Kraft finanzieren

mediCuba - Kuba wird in diesem Jahr einen beispiellosen Übergang in Lateinamerika einleiten, indem es die gesamten Ausgaben für den Kampf gegen das humane Immunschwäche-Virus (HIV), die Ursache von AIDS, mit dem etwa 23.500 der Einwohner Kubas leben, ausschliesslich aus eigenen Mitteln bezahlen wird.


International news

Bold action’ needed to end tuberculosis, AIDS

UN News - "Claiming more than 4,500 lives daily, tuberculosis (TB) continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide as well as the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, the United Nations said Friday, ahead of World Tuberculosis Day.


Peter Sands: charting a new course for The Global Fund

The Lancet - "Peter Sands had a stormy start before taking up his new position as Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on March 5, 2018. He was plunged into controversy last month after the decision by The Global Fund's senior management team to partner with Heineken, among other multinationals, and the implications for global health.


Meeting is first step towards ending Global Fund’s ill-advised Heineken partnership, though concerns remain

NCD-Alliance - "The inappropriate partnership between the Global Fund and Heineken was the topic of discussion between Marijke Wijnroks, Interim Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and representatives of IOGT International, the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance, and NCD Alliance last Friday in Geneva.


Alliance joins call to reverse unpopular AIDS2020 host city decision - "This week, the International AIDS Society announced its decision to name San Francisco and Oakland as host cities to the International AIDS Conference in 2020 (AIDS2020). Sadly, this decision does not consider the ongoing concerns raised by civil society organisations and key population networks on the adverse implications of this decision.


Novartis must end ‘bullying tactics’ over life-saving medicines

STOPAIDS - "Swiss multinational Novartis yesterday faced international calls from an alliance of health campaigners for an end to its ‘threats, lies and bribes’ towards governments over access to life-saving medicines, on the eve of the company’s AGM in Basel, Switzerland which took place today.


¡PrEP Ya! Latin America wants PrEP, and Brazil leads the way

The Lancet - "Brazil has long been at the forefront of HIV treatment and prevention in Latin America. It was the first country in the region to make highly active antiretroviral therapy freely available and participated in the iPrEx study, which reported the efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with daily oral emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate to prevent HIV acquisition in men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women.


Reports and Studies

AIDS is (still) political

International AIDS Society - "Like you and the more than 6,000 colleagues who attended the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris, we were in awe of the scientific data presented from Swaziland last July. Sitting in the plenary hall, we learned that new HIV infections there were cut almost in half in only six years. That – in the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world – is incredible.


Slowdown in HIV/AIDS Progress Puts Focus on Young Women

The Wall Street Journal - "Experts say the booming population of young women in sub-Saharan Africa means global infections could start rising. Public-health leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS have come to an ominous realization: Progress in cutting new infections has slowed, in part because of a persistent cycle of transmission among young women in sub-Saharan Africa.


Women and girls and HIV

UNAIDS - "We cannot stand by and allow the quality of life of women and girls to be held back and their hopes and dreams for the future to slip away. We must work collectively to close the gaps that continue to leave women and girls behind.


Ending AIDS among people who use drugs - our theory of change - "The Alliance’s theory of change to end AIDS among people who use drugs guides the development of our harm reduction programmes and advocacy.


New Publication: Getting on Track in Agenda 2030

Global Forum on MSM and HIV - "A new report released today by the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) in collaboration with the Global Platform to Fast Track the Human Rights and HIV Responses with Gay and Bisexual Men and the Free Space Process argues for consistent and robust reporting on HIV in the Voluntary National Reviews on Sustainable Development.



Digital health, eHealth, mHealth: Breakthrough for public health or creating new dependency? A critical look at the current hype

Medicus Mundi Schweiz/ Medicus Mundi International, Geneva, 11 April 2018, 18:15-20.00 hrs. In a satellite session to the Geneva Health Forum 2018 hosted by the Networks Medicus Mundi International and Medicus Mundi Switzerland, a panel of health systems and health technology experts looks behind the rhetoric of the Forum’s theme of “Precision Global Health in the Digital Age”.


Technology for Maternal, Newborn and Child Care: Can we rely on it for the future?

Enfants du Monde (EdM), Geneva, 11 April 2018 - Enfants du Monde and the Geneva University Hospitals: In a world in which internet access and possession of mobile technologies is rapidly becoming commonplace, the potential of mobile Health (mHealth) to increase equitable access to health services and improve MNCH is becoming more evident.


How ending Malaria transforms the World

Swiss Malaria Group, 25 April 2018 - For the 10th World Malaria Day, a weeklong roadshow will take place across Switzerland in the lead up to the main anniversary event in Geneva on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 with the following renowned speakers:


Gender Based Violence: Approaches and challenges at community and advocay level

MMS/ conference, 2 May 2018, Bern - Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a main issue in international health cooperation. GBV is not only a human rights violation, it has also great social and economic impact and hampers health, education and poverty reduction programs.


Sexuelle Rechte in der Schweiz

Aids Hilfe Bern, 31. Mai 2018, Bern - Über welche sexuellen Rechte verfügen Migrant_innen in der Schweiz? Und was hat das Wissen über sexuelle Rechte mit Chancengleichheit und der Förderung der sexuellen Gesundheit von Migrant_innen zu tun?


International Conference "Men move: policy debates and good practice on engaging men and boys in development cooperation"

IAMANEH Switzerland, 7-8 June 2018, Basel - IAMANEH Switzerland in partnership with the Swiss Federal Council for Foreign Affairs and its Direction for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is organizing the first Swiss hosted international conference on "Engaging Men and Boys (EMB) for Gender Equality" to be held on 7 and 8 June 2018 in Basel.


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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