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aidsfocus.ch e-Bulletin 30.06.2005

aidsfocus.ch e-Bulletin 30.06.2005
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Jun 30, 2005

ELECTORNIC BULLETIN OF THE SWISS PLATFORM ON HIV/AIDS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

THE ELECTRONIC BULLETIN OF THE SWISS PLATFORM FOR HIV/AIDS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION June/July 2005


Dear Reader,

Have you recently thought about the situation of AIDS in Asia? Is it true that HIV/AIDS is not a problem in the Philippines? Is it actually true that there are almost as many people living with HIV/AIDS on the Indian subcontinent than in Sub-Saharan Africa? And has official China really included efficient AIDS-education and information into the national school curriculum?

The truth is that we do not have much information about the situation of AIDS in this region of the world. What is communicated to us by the media is a very fragmentary, inconsistent and even contradictory image of the AIDS-problem.

This issue of aidsfocus.news takes a closer look on Asia and reports on stigmatising and discriminatory acts, but also shares positive and creative initiatives of local organizations. Some of the links provide access to exact figures and situation analyses; other links provide information about on-going discussions and events around the issues of HIV/AIDS in the region. And last but not least, please consult our website www.aidsfocus.ch and see what kind of projects Swiss organizations implement in this field.

Wishing you good reading and a wonderful summer

Helena Zweifel aidsfocus.ch


CONTENT


IN FOCUS - SEA-AIDS - A REGIONAL E-FORUM ON HIV/AIDS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC - HIV/AIDS DATA BY REGION AND BY COUNTRY - 7TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON AIDS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (ICAAP) - ‘AIDS A PRIORITY FOR CHINESE LEADERSHIP’ - RESTRICTIONS ON AIDS ACTIVISTS IN CHINA - NGOS IN INDIA MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF PWHA - NEPAL: RADIO PROGRAMS FOCUSING ON HIV/AIDS EDUCATION

NEWS FROM THE SWISS COMMUNITY OF PTACTICE - MMS BULLETIN NR. 97: MEMORY WORK - ACCESS TO MEDICAMENTS THREATENED IN THAILAND - GOVERNMENTS FAIL TO PROTECT CHILDREN AFFECTED BY AIDS - FOCUS ON HIV/AIDS II/2005

NEWS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD - GSK BIOLOGICALS AND IAVI PARTNER TO DEVELOP AIDS VACCINE - CONTROVERSIAL CLAIMS FOR VITAMINS UNDERMINE ARV ROLLOUT

EVENTS 13.10.2005 INFOAGRAR: POOR HEALTH, FOOD INSECURITY, AND POVERTY 24.11.2005 AIDSFOCUS.CH: ANNUAL MEETING


IN FOCUS


SEA-AIDS - A REGIONAL E-FORUM ON HIV/AIDS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

SEA-AIDS provides a virtual meeting place for organisations and people to network, share experiences and ask for advice on issues related to Asia and HIV/AIDS. It aims to improve the quality and sustainability of existing and newly established programmes and policies as they affect Asian countries and communities. Founded in March 1996, SEA-AIDS has actively contributed to the work of regional and national organisations, groups of people living with HIV/AIDS and other organisations working in the health sector. SEA-AIDS provides an overview of news, announcements, recent changes and emerging issues in the region, serving as a barometer for developments across Asia. It serves as a platform for information sharing, dialogue, discussion and debate among its diverse membership.

http://www.healthdev.org


HIV/AIDS DATA BY REGION AND BY COUNTRY

National HIV infection levels in Asia are low compared with some other continents, notably Africa. But the populations of many Asian nations are so large that even low national HIV prevalence means large numbers of people are living with HIV. The UNAIDS website provides recent data on regional HIV and AIDS estimates and a regional analysis as well as country analysis.

http://www.unaids.org


7TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON AIDS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (ICAAP)

The goals of the 7th ICAAP (July 1 to 5, 2005, in Kobe) are to increase the understanding of the epidemic and related issues in the region, share the lessons and hopes learned, and gain insights applicable to future efforts. Under the theme "Bridging Science and Community", the Congress, encouraging a greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS and other affected communities, will present the most recent achievements in science and community work and will encompass efforts and activities related to prevention, care and treatment at all levels. ICAAP and Health and Development Networks (HDN) are providing on-site coverage from the conference in Japan:

http://www.icaap7.jp
http://www.healthdev.org


‘AIDS A PRIORITY FOR CHINESE LEADERSHIP’

Dr Peter Piot, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, travelled to the southwestern province of Yunnan in China and visited the Chinese capital of Beijing, from 8-10 June, where he met with Premier Web Jiabao and other leaders. “Chinese leadership at the highest level has made AIDS a priority issue – these commitments must be made real”, said Dr. Piot. More from China:

http://www.unaids.org


RESTRICTIONS ON AIDS ACTIVISTS IN CHINA

This Human Rights Watch report based on on-the-ground interviews with Chinese AIDS activists, gay rights activists, activists working with drug users, and website managers shows that while senior officials have said they want to encourage China's emerging civil society, many AIDS activists face state harassment and bureaucratic restrictions. First-hand accounts provided to Human Rights Watch reveal that activists conducting AIDS information workshops or working with those at high risk of HIV have been harassed or detained, and that pornography laws are used to censor websites providing AIDS information to gay men and lesbians under pornography laws. (June 2005)

http://hrw.org


NGOS IN INDIA MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF People living with HIV/AIDS

“Go to the people…live with them… learn from them… love them ... start with what they know and build with what they have ...”. - These inspiring words by Lao Tsu, the famous Chinese philosopher were quoted by Mr. Apurva Dave from the Association of Rural People and Nature (ARPAN) during a session held at the International Conference on community care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS in Mumbai, India (7-9 December 2004). The need for people living with HIV/AIDS (PWHA) to participate in the process of designing HIV/AIDS prevention programmes was stated repeatedly throughout the conference. Paradoxically however, people living with HIV/AIDS are often reluctant to become involved because of the pervasive HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination that adversely impacts their health and social well-being. (Extract from the Report from the International Community Care and Support Conference for People Living with HIV/AIDS, Mumbai India, December 2004)

http://acw-others.blogspot.com


NEPAL: RADIO PROGRAMS FOCUSING ON HIV/AIDS EDUCATION

Family Health International (FHI)/Nepal launched two innovative radio programs that integrate entertainment with important messages to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination and target mobile and migrating populations.

The radio program Ek Apas Ka Kura (Talking to Each Other) debuted March 12 on Radio Nepal's national broadcast and on FM stations nationwide, addressing HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination. Ek Apas Ka Kura is a joint effort combining the talents of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA), popular radio and television stars, and media experts. The regional radio program Desh Paradesh (Country and Abroad) debuted March 25 as part of a Nepal/India Safe Migration Initiative for Nepali labor migrants and their families living in Mumbai. It offers a mix of entertaining drama, song, voices from the field, messages to families and a radio magazine.

http://www.fhi.org


NEWS FROM THE SWISS COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE


NEW: MMS BULLETIN ON MEMORY WORK

Reader of the aidsfocus.ch conference “…and one can dare to hope and dare to remember. Memory Work: Coping strategies in the face of AIDS” in Berne. In addition to the papers presented at the conference, the bulletin presents a rich spectrum of papers on approaches, and forms of implementation of memory work in different settings. E.g. heroes in Capetown and treasure boxes in Berne. It highlights stages in the development from a single memory to ten million – beginning and perspectives of a movement. There are articles in English, German or French. (June 2005)

Accessible on the web. For a paper copy please contact info@medicusmundi.ch

http://www.medicusmundi.ch


ACCESS TO MEDICAMENTS THREATENED IN THAILAND
  1. June 2005 – The Berne Declaration and 16 NGOs from Switzerland, Norway and Lichtenstein sent a letter for an Urgent Appeal to the Special Rapporteur for the Human Right on health. They request for an urgent appeal to stop EFTA Member States (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), from imposing TRIPS-plus rules in a free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand. Based on evidence from previous EFTA bilateral and regional trade agreements, the NGOs are concerned that the IP rules requested could undermine Thailand’s ability to ensure access to affordable medicines, an inherent part of the right to health.

http://www.evb.ch


GOVERNMENTS FAIL TO PROTECT CHILDREN AFFECTED BY AIDS
  1. May 2005 - Government leaders have neglected to keep their commitments to care for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and Aids, according to a new report by international relief and development agency, World Vision. UN Special Envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa Stephen Lewis, who launches the report in the UK said, "Millions of orphan children are struggling for survival across the African continent. The negligible response to their collective crisis is unconscionable. It's time for all governments and agencies worldwide to take the appropriate steps to counter their plight. What we need now are resources and implementation. That must now be our single-minded focus." Press Release and Report:

http://www.worldvision.org.uk


FOCUS ON HIV/AIDS II/2005

The former "SDC’s HIV/AIDS newsletter" provides recent information on mainstreaming HIV/AIDS within SDC and its partner organisations as well as more general briefs on HIV/AIDS activities in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Latin America. (June 2005)

http://www.aidsfocus.ch


NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD


GSK BIOLOGICALS AND IAVI PARTNER TO DEVELOP AIDS VACCINE

London, 21 June 2005 – GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK Biologicals) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) today announced a public-private partnership to develop an AIDS vaccine using a promising new technology. The collaboration – the first-ever in AIDS vaccine research between IAVI and a major vaccine company – will facilitate early research and development of GSK’s non-human primate adenovirus vaccine vector as an enabling component of an effective AIDS vaccine. Press release:

http://www.iavi.org


CONTROVERSIAL CLAIMS FOR VITAMINS UNDERMINE ARV ROLLOUT

South Africa's AIDS lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), took controversial vitamin salesman Dr Matthias Rath to court on Friday, to stop him from claiming that TAC is bankrolled by the pharmaceutical industry to promote antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs. Over the past year Rath has run a high-profile media campaign attacking ARVs and TAC, saying the anti-AIDS medication was poisonous, and multivitamins alone could prevent AIDS.

"There are vulnerable people out there who are going to fall prey to Rath's strong promotions," Dr Des Martin, head of the South African HIV Clinician's Society, told PlusNews. The TAC, the South African Medical Association, the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UNAIDS have all condemned Rath. In a joint statement, WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS described Rath's claims as "misleading and potentially dangerous".(PLUSNEWS, JOHANNESBURG, 13 May 2005)

http://www.plusnews.org


EVENTS


13.10.2005 | INFOAGRAR: POOR HEALTH, FOOD INSECURITY, AND POVERTY – HOW TO BREAK THE VICIOUS CIRCLE?

Berne | The Symposium on the Occasion of World Food Day puts emphasis on the interface between poor health and food insecurity in developing countries. How do health conditions among rural populations influence agricultural production, and vice versa? How can agricultural production systems best be adapted to the specific problems in a population strongly affected by HIV/AIDS? How can the loss of agricultural knowledge be countered? How should rural development programmes deal with diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis? These are some of the questions to be discussed at the symposium. Organisation: infoAgrar

http://www.infoagrar.ch


24.11.2005 | AIDSFOCUS.CH: ANNUAL MEETING

Bern | The focus will be on the sharing of experiences and building networks, and on the positioning of aidsfocus.ch. The agenda will be sent to partners in September 2005. Please note the date!

http://www.aidsfocus.ch


www.aidsfocus.ch

aidsfocus.ch is a project set up by Medicus Mundi Switzerland. aidsfocus.ch is sponsored and shaped by 26 partner organizations who support the aims and activities of the platform through their financial contributions, expertise and commitment.

Partners: AIDS & Child, Bethlehem Mission Immensee, Caritas Switzerland, cinfo, CO-OPERAID, Déclaration de Berne, Doctors without Borders, Fondation Terre des hommes, Fédération Genevoise de Coopération, Gemeinschaft St. Anna-Schwestern, HEKS, IAMANEH Switzerland, medico international Switzerland, mediCuba-Suisse, mission, REPSSI, SolidarMed, Swiss Aids Care International, Swiss Aids Federation, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, Swiss MIVA, Swiss Red Cross, Swiss Tropical Institute, Tear Fund, terre des hommes - Switzerland, World Vision Switzerland.