May 2015

May 29, 2015


14th Annual Conference of – No one left behind!

Dear aidsfocus readers

On May 7, 2015, we experienced an exciting Conference on the issue of “HIV/AIDS and vulnerable groups – no one left behind”. In a very impressive way, experts from Switzerland and other countries provided an overview on the gravity of the subject of vulnerable groups and the containment of HIV/AIDS. The main problem of this group is that it often does not have access to information, prevention programmes and health care services. Mainly, access to these services is denies due to stigmatisation, discrimination and specific laws (e.g. sex work is illegal) for this group.

„If the goal to end AIDS by the year 2030 – which is also supported by Switzerland – is to be reached, health care provisions must meet the needs of these people“, emphasises Sally Smith of UNAIDS. She knew excellently how to provide a detailed overview on the different vulnerable groups which mainly contribute to the continued existence of the epidemic. Sally Smith made clear that the AIDS epidemic reaches far beyond health problems per se.

The report of Anthony Waldhausen was very impressive; he has successfully raised the awareness of hospital staff and police officers for the needs, hardships and difficulties of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people (LGBTI).

HIV/Aids is also of concern to us in Switzerland. The HIV-epidemics in Switzerland is characterised by three concentrated epidemics in different fields. Men having sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug consumers as well as migrants originating from high-prevalence countries such as for example from sub-Saharan Africa. Luciano Ruggia from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health presented the impressive results of a first-time study on the sexual behaviour of migrants in Switzerland (ANSWER Study). And Claude Nkanga of the Fondation Profa reported on the difficulties migrants face being in Switzerland. A large problem constitutes the cultural barriers and lack of a consultation and information on existing services and sources of information.

The UNAIDS-„Fast Track“ indicators to reach the containment of the AIDS pandemic represent an ideal framework to attain this goal together. However, these demands – access to rights-based information, prevention programmes and health care services for ALL – cannot be reached without the necessary political will here in Switzerland as well as within the international community and the individual countries. This also includes removing the taboos about sexual practices, the legalisation of sex work as well as ending the stigmatisation and discrimination of ALL vulnerable groups. It is still important to keep this issue on the political agenda and to offer an opportunity to vulnerable groups to articulate and claim their rights.

Documentation conference - no one left behind!

Carine Weiss, MSc MIH


Project manager Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Highlights of the 14th conference - “We’ve seen a growth of experience, in political commitment, and in the mobilisation of civil societies and community activism. But the gap between those achievements and ending the epidemic is still too wide. People are still left behind”, says Sally Smith from UNAIDS at the 14th conference.


International news

Ensuring universal health coverage for key populations

UNAIDS, Geneva, 20 May 2015 - Without addressing HIV among marginalized populations and human rights, it will not be possible to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, according to experts at a World Health Assembly side event. (...)


Fighting HIV where no-one admits it's a problem

BBC News, 20 May 2015 - The phrase "Aids epidemic" awakens distant memories in most of Europe, Australia or the Americas, where infection rates have generally been in decline for years. But as former UK Health Secretary Lord Fowler explains, the phrase is not used in Russia either - despite failed policies that have allowed infection rates to soar.


New platform for reports of human rights violations in Global Fund programs launched

aidspan, May 2015 - Interested parties will now be able to report alleged human rights violations or infringements occurring in programs or activities supported by the Global Fund using a new complaints mechanism launched by the Global Fund.


International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

GENEVA, 17 May 2015 - We are living in a time of rapid social change. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are now reaching new frontiers and celebrating remarkable achievements. (Message from UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé)


Write Us In! campaign: three reasons to sign our petition

aidsalliance, 14 May 2015 - For months we’ve been campaigning to ensure that marginalised groups who are most at risk of HIV are not overlooked by the UN in the post 2015 health agenda.


Reports and Studies

CHAMPIONING Gender Equality in the HIV Response: The experiences of five programme countries

UN WOMEN, 2015 - AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age worldwide. In addition to their biological susceptibility, HIV disproportionately affects women and adolescent girls because of their unequal cultural, social and economic status in society.


WHO recommends 10 measurements for HIV epidemic

World Health Organisation (WHO), 11 May 2015 - WHO released new guidelines recommending simplified indicators to measure the reach of HIV services, and the impact achieved at both the national and global levels.


Why we need to step up the HIV response quickly

World Health Organisation (WHO) 2015 - The enormous effort, resources and ingenuity directed at the epidemic over the past 15 years is paying off. Shadowing the gains, though, are three major challenges.


Community must play a much greater role in HIV treatment delivery especially for people being left behind

UNAIDS 20 April 2015 - Strengthening and expanding community-based approaches to delivering HIV treatment is vital to the long-term success of the AIDS response, according to a report launched on 20 April by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and UNAIDS.



MAS Symposium, June 4th-5th, 2015 in Basel

Medical Anthropology Switzerland - The scope of social anthropology has expanded dramatically in the last 100 years, stretching out beyond the traditional areas of museums, ethnographic exploration or descriptive studies. Social anthropology does not occupy a distinctly defined space of work in today’s working world. Social anthropology – medical anthropology included – claims to prepare its students for a broad and diverse scope of work.


8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015)

IAS - The International AIDS Society will lead the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) held in Vancouver, Canada from 19 - 22 July 2015. This year’s conference, hosted in partnership with the University of British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, is expected to bring together more than 6,000 participants from over 125 countries.

read more... is a platform set up by the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland. is sponsored and shaped by its 22 partner organizations who support the aims and activities of the platform through their financial contributions, expertise and commitment. It is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Partner organisations: AIDS & Child, CO-OPERAID, FEPA, Fédération Genevoise de Coopération, Gemeinschaft St. Anna-Schwestern, IAMANEH Switzerland, Kindernothilfe Schweiz, Kwa Wazee, mediCuba-Suisse, mission 21, SolidarMed, Swiss Aids Care International, Swiss Aids Federation, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, Swiss Catholic Women’s League, Swiss MIVA, Swiss Red Cross, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (SwissTPH), Tear Fund, Terre des hommes Foundation, terre des hommes schweiz, and World Vision Switzerland.