aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
September 2018

Oct 01, 2018


#AIDS2018: Prevention – Prevention – Prevention

Dear aidsfocus readers,

Yes, we actually already have the “silver bullet” to get HIV under control. During a session at the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, the Swede Anders Nordström countered the statement by Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, that we are still awaiting the “silver bullet” in the fight against AIDS. For Nordström, Ambassador for Global Health at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, this “silver bullet” is condoms. However, promoting the use of condoms has been gravely neglected in recent years. The audience applauded Nordström’s intervention! According to him, the use of condoms can prevent 80% of infections which makes it all the more incomprehensible why only five condoms per year are available on average to an African male. Prevention is in crisis!

Critics maintain that obvious and economic measures such as the provision of condoms and associated information campaigns are being eclipsed by medical solutions. Insufficient health education is not, however, just a problem in African countries: in Europe, too, there is a general lack of awareness about the topic of HIV prevention – that was the complaint of a group of young people from Hamburg. A few years ago they seized the initiative and started an awareness campaign at their high school. Knowledge about HIV was shockingly low and, for most pupils, AIDS was synonymous with “gays, drugs and Africa”. The young Hamburg activists wanted to address this intolerable state of affairs and started a campaign which has now grown into a big success. Workshops and condom provision went hand-in-hand with an invitation to young people to get themselves tested. The latter proved to be virtually impossible: due to a lack of alternatives, young people wanting to be tested were referred to so-called hotspot services provided for sex workers.

Is a condom machine the solution?

Out of this initially local project has grown the successful worldwide organisation “Youth against AIDS (YAA)”, which this year was an official partner of the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. YAA’s commitment – which is now receiving prominent support from Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the HIV/AIDS Department of the WHO and member of YAA’s advisory board, as well as the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé – continues unabated. In Amsterdam, the organisation confidently announced alongside young people from around the world: “We are the generation that can end AIDS!” YAA’s recipe for success continues to include the distribution of condoms: by mid-2018 they had condom dispensers installed in around 100 German schools to facilitate the “barrier-free” purchase of reasonably priced condoms which even young people in Europe can find difficult to afford from their own pocket-money. The response has been huge, as have requests for more condom dispensers. Could this also be a recipe for success in schools in Africa? It would certainly seem to be something that is worth exploring.

You can read about a small selection of the important topics discussed at AIDS2018 in our Topic of the Month.


Martina Staenke

Communication Manager, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

AIDS 2018 Overshadowed by Crises

MMS/ - UNAIDS sounded the alarm at the opening of the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam: time is running out! “We are not on track to end the global AIDS crisis!” This message was repeatedly heard in Amsterdam where leading experts and scientists painted a sobering picture at what is, with 16,000 participants, the biggest international conference dedicated to a global health topic. Inadequate funds, a lack of political will, discrimination and human rights violations prompt the fear that, in many places, an AIDS epidemic that was believed to have been curbed is once again on the rise. Mark Dybul, until recently Executive Director of the Global Fund, warned before the conference began that the world is currently more at risk than ever of losing control over the epidemic. (International AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam. Photo: MMS)


Information from the Swiss community of practice

Gender Based Violence: Organisations for International Cooperation must take Responsibility

MMS Bulletin, September 2018 - Online-Bulletin of the MMS/ conference of 2 May 2018


Ruedi Lüthy im Interview: HIV noch nicht im Griff

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - Ruedi Lüthy am Abend des 23. Juli 2018 in der SRF Tagesschau: «Wir haben bewiesen, dass es möglich ist!» Der Gründer der Newlands Clinic über die zentrale Bedeutung der Ausbildung einheimischer Fachleute im Kampf gegen HIV.


HIV-Selbsttests neu auch in der Schweiz erhältlich

Aids-Hilfe Schweiz - HIV-Selbsttests, dürfen ab dem 19. Juni 2018 in der Schweiz verkauft werden. Es wird empfohlen, die Tests bei Abgabestellen wie Apotheken oder Drogerien zu beziehen, wo eine persönliche Beratung möglich und das Risiko für den Kauf einer Fälschung minim ist.


Selbsttests im Gesundheitszentrum

Solidarmed - "Die ambitionierten 90-90-90 -Ziele der UNAIDS zur Eindämmung der HIV-Epidemie sind in Moçambique noch ausser Reichweite. Entsprechend wichtig sind neue Wege, die Bevölkerung mit HIV-Tests zu erreichen und diesen eine Behandlung anzubieten.


International news

A first step has been done - World Leaders Commit To End Tuberculosis At Historic United Nations Meeting

Intellecutal Property Watch (IP), NEW YORK - "World leaders and senior representatives came together today for the first-ever High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End Tuberculosis at United Nations headquarters in New York. At the meeting, heads of state adopted a political declaration with commitments to accelerate action and funding to end the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030.


Video: Follow the pill. Fighting HIV and TB in DR Congo

Cordaid - "Since 2012 Cordaid has been the principal recipient of the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In close collaboration with the DRC Ministry of Health, Cordaid fights HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in 65% of all health zones of DRCs vast territory.


We see mothers die and children die': Uganda's teen pregnancy crisis

The Guardian - "In a country where one in four women have a child by 19, and health workers offering birth control have been met by men with machetes, confronting myths about contraception is vital.


Sir Elton John: Trump could be the President to stop AIDS

Facebook channel - “President Trump has the ability to say: 'I want to be the President that ended AIDS'.” Sir Elton John says President Trump - who has been to several of his shows - could “do a great humanitarian thing” and eradicate AIDS with the help of other world leaders." (Photo: Vegas February 2017/Bob n Renee/flickr, CC BY 2.0)


A public-health approach to policing - "It was Commissioner Pim Jansonious who set the tone when he stressed the importance of developing a “socially-minded” and “representative” police force that works in partnership with other agencies to protect all people - no matter which community they belong to.


The woman who put gender-based violence data on the map - "Thirty years ago, Henriette Jansen wouldn’t have guessed she would become a global authority on measuring violence against women. She began her career as an epidemiologist, first studying intestinal parasites in Colombia and later helping strengthen Zanzibar’s health management information system.


New evidence shows far-reaching impact of expanded US “global gag rule”

AIDS2018, Official Press release - 27 July 2018 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – "Researchers shared alarming evidence at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) today of negative impacts of the US Government’s “Mexico City Policy”, also known as the “global gag rule”.


Three critical evidence gaps from AIDS 2018 - "This week at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam has no doubt been exciting. It is always inspiring to share a space with thousands of people passionate about ending AIDS – community representatives, scientists, advocates, clinicians, policy makers.


Launch of $1.2B coalition to expand HIV services for men - "A group of major HIV/AIDS donors, NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies have joined forces to launch a $1.2 billion coalition to expand the diagnosis and treatment of HIV infections among men, who are currently less likely to be accessing these services.


Offline: Can the Global Fund survive?

The Lancet - "France will host the Sixth Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2019. The result may make or break the Global Fund. Although the date of the conference is not formally confirmed, it is likely to be sometime between June, when France will host the G7, and September (the UN General Assembly in New York). by Richard Horton


Accountability, Sexual Harassment Concerns - In Spotlight At UNAIDS Board Meeting

Health Policy Watch - "Accountability and prevention and response to harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power, are high on the minds of delegates attending a three-day meeting of the ruling body of UNAIDS this week in Geneva.


Invest in youth, not another big institution, says Mark Dybul

www. - "Global health programs often have a common structure: Donors come in and deliver funding, then money trickles down to a global institution or an implementing organization that develops programs based on what they think is needed on the ground.


Reports and Studies

Advancing global health and strengthening the HIV response in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals - The International AIDS Society—Lancet Commission

The Lancet - "The sustainable development goals (SDGs) have marked a new era in global development-to strive towards a healthier, fairer, and safer world by 2030. Improving the health and well-being of the world’s people is at the core of the SDGs and attaining universal health coverage is central to those health-related goals.


PEPFAR - 2018 Progress Report

UNAIDS - "On 27 September PEPFAR published its 2018 progress report, showing the progress made one year into its 2017–2020 strategy. PEPFAR supports the AIDS response in 53 countries—of those, 13 are already on track to control their HIV epidemics by 2020, while many more could still do so through scaling up resources and policies to ensure access to HIV prevention and treatment services.


Vanquishing violence and vulnerability in humanitarian settings

UNAIDS - "Towards intensified African Union–United Nations cooperation for the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence and protecting the health and rights of women and children in humanitarian settings. Background paper for the joint African Union–UNAIDS high-level side event at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, 24 September 2018.


An opportunity to end two of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases: TB and HIV

UNAIDS - "The World Health Organization recently released its Global tuberculosis report 2018. Although it shows encouraging pockets of progress in responding to tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in some areas, it paints a rather bleak picture on ending the dual epidemics by 2030.


UNAIDS warns that progress is slowing and time is running out to reach the 2020 HIV targets

UNAIDS - "New HIV infections are rising in around 50 countries, AIDS-related deaths are not falling fast enough and flat resources are threatening success. Half of all new HIV infections are among key populations and their partners, who are still not getting the services they need.


Global Fund Partnership has Saved 27 Million Lives

The Global Fund - "The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria released a new report demonstrating that 27 million lives have been saved by the Global Fund partnership. The report shows tremendous progress that has been achieved by efforts to end the epidemics, while highlighting new threats.


Time to realise our sexual and reproductive health and rights

The Lancet - "As women living with HIV who were involved in a global values and preferences survey on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) priorities of women living with HIV, we welcome the Comment by Manjulaa Narasimhan and colleagues.


UNAIDS Gender Action Plan 2018–2023 — A framework for accountability

UNAIDS - "Gender equality in the workplace is a human right and critical to the performance and effectiveness of UNAIDS. Organizations with more equal representation of women at the senior management level considerably outperform their counterparts with a lower representation of women in senior positions. Gender-balanced teams have greater potential for creativity and innovation and contribute to better outcomes in decisionmaking.



Musikalischer Besuch aus Lesotho in Gossau, Luzern und Basel

SolidarMed, Eine private Crowdfunding-Aktion ermöglicht vier lokalen SolidarMed-Mitarbeitenden eine Konzertreihe mit ihrer Chorgruppe in der Schweiz. An drei Abenden geben sie einen musikalischen und kulturellen Einblick in ihr Heimatland Lesotho.



Medicus Mundi Switzerland 6 November 2018, Basel - A documentary about the tortuous path Mozambique is living in the construction of its public health system. Since achieving independence in 1975, Mozambique is a country in constant change. In this context, governments, foundations, NGOs and companies declare noble intentions in order to improve the precarious health situation of the population.


«Health for All» by 2030 On the Right Track, or on the Verge of Failing?

MMS Symposium, 7 November 2018, Basel - Health is a fundamental human right. However, today inequality, poverty, exploitation, violence and injustice still prevent one billion people from accessing healthcare. To achieve the goal of ”Health for All”, inequalities must be eliminated, resources better distributed by ensuring no-one is left behind, and political and economic interests must be geared towards achieving the goal. In the 40th anniversary year of the Alma-Ata Declaration, realising the vision of Alma-Ata is clearly more urgent than ever.


Women Deliver 2019 Conference

Women Deliver Conference, 3-6 June 2019, Vancouver, Canada - The world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will focus on power, and how it can drive – or hinder – progress and change.

read more... is a project of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland.