aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
December 2018

Dec 20, 2018


World AIDS Day 2018

Dear aidsfocus readers,

Perhaps you are wondering why World AIDS Day still requires a special mention, or what, if any, significance it bears.

The 2018 International AIDS Conference (reported on in our last newsletter) opened our eyes to its significance: people with HIV are still experiencing discrimination and exclusion in their daily lives – whether they are in Switzerland, Africa or Asia. Every day, people with HIV face challenges we can only imagine. A fatal consequence of this is that many do not want to know their HIV status and so do not get tested.

But in spite of the adverse conditions in which many affected people are living, having the test is the only way forward. Because it is only when their HIV status is known that the necessary measures for treatment and prevention can be taken in order to halt the HIV epidemic once and for all.

Since 1988, significant advances have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Today, three out of four people living with HIV know their status. However, we must not rest on our laurels: every year sees an estimated 1.7 million new infections.

This means we must take responsibility! Getting tested is one way of doing this for both yourself and others. It takes personal responsibility to ensure that you do not infect other people, and it takes the responsibility and empathy of all of us to overcome discrimination and stigmatisation of HIV-positive people. The good news is that there are many innovations in the area of testing: self-administered tests, testing in communities and tests that diagnose several diseases at once (multi-disease tests). These help people to overcome their fear and responsibly initiate the next steps following a positive test.

On the occasion of this year’s World AIDS Day, UNAIDS was drawing increased attention to these innovations with a clear message: we must do our utmost to ensure that HIV testing programmes reach an even bigger section of the population. To do this, alongside political will and investment, we also need innovative approaches to HIV tests so they can be used to the fullest extent. But first of all, we must begin with ourselves and abolish stigmatisation and discrimination in order to make it easier for people to gain access to testing facilities.

The international campaign launched by UNAIDS regarding "Know Your Status" as the central theme of this year's World AIDS Day is absolutely essential.

Carine Weiss


Project Leader, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Suis-je séropositif ? La promotion du dépistage volontaire au cœur de la lutte mondiale contre le VIH

Press release: MMS (MMS/Bâle, le 30 novembre 2018) - Demain, 1e décembre 2018 aura lieu la trentième Journée mondiale de lutte contre le SIDA avec pour slogan : « Connais ton état sérologique vis-à-vis du VIH ! » Les organismes du Réseau Medicus Mundi Suisse s'engagent ici, en Suisse, mais aussi en Afrique et en Amérique latine, à faciliter l'accès aux tests, à la prévention, au traitement et à la prise en charge psychosociale. Toutefois, nous sommes encore loin d'enrayer la transmission du virus de l'immuno-déficience humaine (VIH). (Photo: SolidarMed)


Information from the Swiss community of practice


Swiss AIDS Federation - "Get Tested is a campaign run by the Swiss AIDS Federation. Its aim is to encourage men and women alike to know their own HIV status, while also breaking down prejudice and fear of discrimination. Many people are affected by HIV, and those who are HIV-positive are still stigmatised and excluded from society.


Stigmatisierung isoliert und kann töten

Aids-Hilfe Schweiz (AHS) - "Angelo Barrile ist engagierter Facharzt und Politiker und lebt in Zürich. Er stellt eine zunehmende Stigmatisierung und Entsolidarisierung gegenüber gewissen Menschengruppen fest. Immer mehr kranke Menschen sind wegen ihrer Krankheit mit Vorurteilen konfrontiert und werden allein gelassen.


«Für mich ist daher klar: Wir bleiben dran und lassen unsere Patienten nicht im Stich»

Der Murtenbieter, 25. September 2018 - "Politische Unruhen, Armut, Hunger, Cholera und Aids: Die Arbeitsbedingungen in der Newlands Clinic in Simbabwe sind alles andere als einfach. Sabine Lüthy, die Geschäftsleiterin der Ruedi Lüthy Foundation, hält sich gegenwärtig in Harare auf.


International news

World AIDS Day 2018

UNAIDS - "On World AIDS Day 2018, HIV testing is being brought into the spotlight. And for good reason.


UNAids chief Michel Sidibe offers to quit in June after report on ‘defective leadership’

Business Live - "The report says Sidibe accepts no responsibility for anything that has gone wrong under his watch and argues that UNAids leaders have to be replaced


Statement: Independent Expert Panel report on abuse of power at UNAIDS - "The following statement is from Christine Stegling, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, in response to the Independent Expert Panel’s report into allegations of abuse of power, sexual harassment and misconduct at UNAIDS.


UNAIDS puts forward a transformative agenda to create a model working environment at UNAIDS

UNAIDS Press release - "UNAIDS outlines five key components for action that build on recommendations made by an Independent Expert Panel. UNAIDS is putting in place an agenda for change to transform UNAIDS into a model working environment for all staff that ensures safety and inclusivity and upholds the highest standards of accountability and integrity. The agenda underscores that harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power at any level, will not be tolerated and that perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions.


The science is clear, HIV criminalization is abusive, discriminatory and counterproductive

International AIDS Society - "Every year, in dozens of countries in every region of the world, people living with HIV are prosecuted for HIV non-disclosure, perceived HIV exposure or, in rare cases, allegedly knowing transmission of the virus. Some of these prosecutions are based on HIV-specific laws while others use general laws, such as assault and battery. Civil society advocates and public health experts have long decried these laws and prosecutions as a human rights violation: they stigmatize people living with HIV and discourage people from learning their HIV status.


Fight viruses, not people!

www.gfan - "The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is today one of our most important instruments for ending AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030. Human rights principles and the removal of barriers to access to HIV programmes, treatment and prevention are central to the implementation of programmes financed by the Global Fund." (Photo: MMS)


A heart that’s willing to lead

International AIDS Society - "I never thought I would ever live a life where I was an openly HIV-positive activist. However, if we are serious about addressing the HIV epidemic, we need to equip the next generation of activists to take on the battles that must be won.


Reports and Studies

On World AIDS Day: Big Breakthroughs On HIV Self-Testing

Health Policy Watch - "A report launched jointly today by Population Services International (PSI), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the World Health Organization shows that people’s knowledge of their HIV status in sub-Saharan African countries nearly doubled just four years after self-testing programmes were introduced.


New UNAIDS report shows 75% of all people living with HIV know they are living with HIV

UNAIDS - "Report also calls for increased efforts needed to reach the 9.4 million people living with HIV who are not aware they have the virus and the estimated 19.4 million people who do not have suppressed viral loads.


Quality of life for people living with HIV - "This briefing describes what quality of life for people living with HIV is, why it matters and what interventions look like. It also explains where the concept of quality of life fits within global frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.


Technical Review Panel Report on Investments in Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health

The Global Fund - "The Global Fund invests significantly in programs to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. To maximize the impact of investments in these disease programs and sustain gains for the longer term, including beyond Global Fund support, important investments also need to be made in resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH). The Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022, in fact, identifies RSSH as one of four core objectives for our partnership.


No prevention, no end

AVAC annual report 2018 - "In just about 24 months, the world will arrive at the deadline for the UNAIDS "Fast Track" goals for ending the epidemic. The primary fast-track goal for HIV prevention is reduction in new diagnoses from roughly 2,000,000 a year, to less than 500,000. There's no chance this goal will be achieved. In July 2018, days before the biennial International AIDS Conference, UNAIDS released its annual state-of-the-epidemic report and declared a “prevention crisis”.


Power to participants: a call for person‐centred HIV prevention services and research

Journal of the International AIDS Society - "Person‐centred HIV prevention reorientates power dynamics so that individuals (rather than interventions) are at the centre of the response. Respecting personal choice and agency – and understanding how these are shaped by the context in which people exercise these choices – are critical dimensions of the person‐centred approach. Community‐based participatory research should be employed to inform and evaluate person‐centred HIV prevention.



MMS/ conference 2019

MMS/ conference 8 May 2019, Hotel Kreuz Bern - SAVE THE DATE!


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.