aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
June 2019

Jun 13, 2019


...No Longer Without Us!

Dear aidsfocus readers,

Young people can pinpoint what is going wrong with politics and society – as the German Youtuber Rezo recently demonstrated in a video he released shortly before the European elections which mercilessly took stock of the failings of politics and ensured in record time that everyone was talking about politics. Whether or not he influenced the outcome of the election (which, with 14 million clicks, is entirely possible), it once again became clear that young people are fed up with politicians and a society that overlooks their interests and needs; they want far-reaching changes; they’re getting involved; they’re provoking and challenging society.

This was something equally demonstrated by the young speakers at our symposium where we discussed the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents and young adults. The young activists made their vision of a self-determined and healthy sexuality unequivocally clear. Anyone who believed everything there is to say on this subject had already been said was certainly put right.

And so when, for example, Indian activist Vithika Yadav presented her unconventional ideas about sex education and her now award-winning, internationally famous internet platform “Love Matters”, it became clear that we have, to date, comprehensively failed young people in their sex education. Sex education by incompetent teachers – “My teacher didn’t even dare to mention the clitoris while he explained the genitals in detail on a slide” – must stop, something also demanded by Noemi Grütter from the youth network Sexual Health Switzerland. In an impressive manifesto, the youth network declares what it understands as an appropriate approach in this day and age: “We young people want to be involved in the design of sex education.”

Innovative Strategies Are More Urgent Than Ever

During the course of our symposium, it became increasingly clear to us that young people are no longer willing to let the older generation continue with business as usual: they want new approaches and they want to be heard! And thus, Director of MMS Martin Leschhorn rightly enquired in his summing up at the end of the symposium: “Do we include and listen to young people within our organisations? And do we give them the resources they need?”

We all know how much is at stake: the denial of sexual and reproductive rights is not only – in spite of decades of struggle – a threat to our democracies (take, for example, the case of Trump) but also to a young generation between the ages of 10 and 24 across the globe, a group which is growing at a record-breaking rate. We continue to put them at risk of HIV/AIDS, child pregnancy, sexual violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation if we deny them access to a comprehensive sex education, contraception, education and equal opportunities. In doing so, we deny them the human right to sexual health!

The presentations from our speakers are available online and we will publish a summary of the conference in the MMS Bulletin in September.

Our symposium was not the only important event to be held recently: at about the same time, a high-level meeting took place in Geneva which also placed the human right to a comprehensive access to health at the centre of a discussion with high-profile representatives such as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Executive Director of the Global Fund Peter Sands. In our Topic of the Month, you can read more about this event which was organised by bodies including Aidsfonds and Medicus Mundi Switzerland.

Martina Staenke
Communication Manager, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

High-level panel calls for universal health coverage to meet the needs of key and vulnerable populations

Aidsfonds/Graduate Institute/MMS - What can the world learn from the Global Fund in the shift towards universal health coverage (UHC)? Put the last mile first, build stronger health and community systems, invest in programmes that remove human rights barriers, and ensure affected communities are at the center of the HIV response: this was the clear message of a high-level panel in support of the Global Fund in Geneva in early May. (Photo: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and The Global Fund / © David Ruiz, Aidsfonds)


Information from the Swiss community of practice

Sexual rights: giving voice to young people

MMS/ - Documentation about our conference 8 May 2019


"In a gender equal world, everybody wins"

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) - "New knowledge and solutions to achieve a more gender equal world are at the center of the Women Deliver 2019 Conference (WD2019) taking place 3-6 June 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. It is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and on the health and rights of girls and women.


System HIV

Swiss AIDS News - "Das Schweizer «System HIV» – beleuchten die Swiss Aids News in ihrer ersten Nummer dieses Jahres. Nicht von A bis Z, aber von Aktivistengruppe über Condomeria über Diskriminierungsmeldung über medizinische Guidelines über Outing über Rechtsdienst bis regionale Aidshilfe.


International news

Adherence is delaying HIV elimination targets. What’s needed to break the cycle

THE CONVERSATION - "As 2020 draws closer, the deadline to end AIDS by 2030 looms large. The aim is to achieve the ambitious targets of “90-90-90”. That is, 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status; 90% of all those with HIV on antiretroviral therapy; and 90% of those on antiretroviral therapy with no HIV in their bloodstream.


Botswana scraps gay sex laws in big victory for LGBTQ rights in Africa

CNN - "Botswana's High Court has overturned a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations in a landmark victory for Africa's LGBTQ movements. The court in the southern African country unanimously ruled on Tuesday that the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest.


Responding to the HIV outbreak in Larkana

UNAIDS - "Ahmed (not his real name) is worried as he tells his story: his five-year old son Mukhtar has been newly diagnosed with HIV. Ahmed, a medical officer working in a local hospital in the city of Rotadero in southeast Pakistan, had taken Mukhtar to be tested for HIV when the local media began warning of an increase in HIV cases among children living in his area of Sindh Province.


Not one single country set to achieve gender equality by 2030

The Guardian - "The first global index measuring efforts to end gender inequality finds countries are not doing enough to improve women’s lives. No country in the world is on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, according to the first index to measure progress against a set of internationally agreed targets.


Most new HIV infections occur in lower prevalence countries not prioritised by PEPFAR - "The burden of the global HIV epidemic is disproportionately falling on lower-prevalence countries, according to an analysis published in the Journal of Virus Eradication. The majority of new HIV infections, cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission and AIDS-related deaths now occur in countries with HIV prevalence below 4.5%. Lower-prevalence countries also had lower rates of antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage and early infant diagnosis.


Being a woman: a crime in Nigeria?

Aidsfonds - "Over two weeks in April, more than 100 women in Abuja were forcefully and illegally arrested by a joint task force set up by the Federal Capital Territory Administration. The majority of the women were picked up in the capital’s streets and restaurants, others while enjoying drinks on a Friday night with friends or while at clubs and hangout spots. They were all accused of being sex workers. (By Anthony Nkwocha, Country Focal Point, PITCH Nigeria)


How the Global Fund helped countries spend its grants faster

devex - "NAIROBI — In recent years, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has cracked down on countries that don’t spend grants fast enough — and while it has struggled with the issue of “absorption” rates in the past, countries are now on track to meet its targets.


Reports and Studies

HIV project in South Africa reaches 90-90-90 target one year ahead of deadline

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - "MSF has released findings from a follow-up survey of our community-based HIV/TB project in Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The findings show that the project has achieved the UNAIDS targets of 90-90-90 one year ahead of the 2020 deadline.


Leadership as a process of influence

UNAIDS - "Accelerating progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women is fundamental to ending the AIDS epidemic. And it starts within UNAIDS. In 2018, UNAIDS released its Gender Action Plan 2018-2023 aimed at improving the effectiveness of UNAIDS by promoting women’s leadership across the organization and ensuring that all staff, women and men, are aware of the issues that increase women’s risk of HIV infection.


Integrating the HIV response into universal health coverage

Frontline AIDS - "New research reveals opportunities and major areas of concern as countries move towards UHC, while at the same time transitioning from international to domestic funding for HIV programmes.


Galvanizing global ambition to end the AIDS epidemic after a decade of progress - Report of the Secretary-General

reliefweb "(...) There are many challenges, including stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and harmful gender norms. Laws and policies in many countries prevent young people, women, key populations (people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender people, prisoners, and gay men and other men who have sex with men), indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees from accessing health and HIV services. Funding for HIV responses in low- and middle-income countries globally has also been flat for most of the past five years.


Progress report on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections 2019

WHO - "The new progress report being released today at the 72nd World Health Assembly reviews success and challenges in implementing the global health sector strategies, 2016-2021 on HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The report also outlines 8 joint actions for accelerating progress towards universal health coverage."



Power. Progress. Change.

MMS/SDC WEBINAR, 20 June 2019, 1pm - Learning & Reflections from Women Deliver 2019!


Health Care Waste Management

Swiss Red Cross, 27 June 2019, Berne - Herewith we would like to invite you to the event Health Care Waste Management – From resistance to compliance which takes place on Thursday, 27th June 2019 from 2 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. at Swiss Red Cross Headquarters in Berne. In the attached document you will find more details about the event.


Informations- und Austauschtreffen mit Umsetzungsakteuren der Deutschschweiz im Rahmen des NPHS (Achse 1)

SEXUELLE GESUNDHEIT Schweiz, 31. Oktober 2019, Bern - Thema 2019: Rollen und Stellenwert von Peers in der sexuellen Gesundheit: Wie kann die Koordination zwischen Professionellen und Peers sinnvoll gestaltet werden? Welche Voraussetzungen müssen erfüllt werden?


Climate Change and Health

Swiss TPH, 5-6 December 2019, Basel - Risks, Adaptations, Resilience and Co-Benefits: Climate change will affect global health in many different ways.

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