aidsfocus..flash: conference 10 April 2014

aidsfocus..flash: conference 10 April 2014




  1. February 2014


Dear partner of Colleagues and friends,

We would like to invite you to the conference, 10 April 2014 in Bern. on „Addressing sexual violence and HIV“.

Why this topic? A South African peer educator hits the point: “It is impossible to talk about HIV/AIDS without talking about domestic and sexual violence”. Globally, according to the World Health Organization, about one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by a non-partner. There is a clear association between intimate partner violence and HIV, with women experiencing such violence facing a 50% increased risk of acquiring HIV. Women living with HIV are more likely to experience gender-based violence.

However, how many AIDS service organisation are aware of and active on the links between sexual violence and HIV? How many women’s organisations are focusing on HIV and AIDS? One of the reasons why it takes a long time for people to understand and deal with sexual violence and HIV is the stigma attached to both issues.

Sinikwe Biyela experienced high levels of domestic violence and rape in South Africa. Women and children are being abused every day. In rural areas there are no care or counseling structures and survivors are expected to get over the abuse with no support at all. Since 2003, Sinikwe has worked for LifeLine in Pietermaritzburg, a partner organisation of terre des hommes schweiz. She believes that victims need to be assisted in order to become survivors.

Sinikwe Biyela is one of the speakers at the conference 2014, who will share her knowledge and experiences as a starting point for the discussion on how to address sexual violence and HIV.

We would be happy to welcome you at the conference in Bern.

Best regards,

Helena Zweifel Coordinator Executive Director of the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland


Bern | Sexual violence is a fundamental violation of human rights and has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of people, especially women. Research shows that violence is a major cause of HIV transmission, but also a consequence of HIV infection.

The conference explores how sexual and gender based violence increases vulnerability to HIV, AIDS and other STIs. It highlights current interventions to address the consequences of sexual violence on the health of women, children and men. Based on experiences and best practice, the conference will explore programming and key actions addressing the consequences of sexual violence on HIV in protection of the survivors of sexual violence.

The focus is on sharing of experiences and information and learning from each other.


Alice Welbourn, Salamander Trust, Founder of Stepping Stones, UK, provides an overview of the issue, the linkages between sexual and gender based violence and HIV, and challenges in support of survivors of violence.

Sinikiwe Biyela, LifeLine, South Africa, partner of terre des hommes Schweiz shares the expierences of LifeLine’s holistic approach for supporting victims of violence. The Crisis Care Centre provides first medical examen, including HIV-Test and/or Post-Expositions Prophylaxis (PEP).

Marie Gilbrin, Deputy Head of the East and Southern Africa Division, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation talks about the experiences from the psychosocial support program in the Great Lakes region which addresses GBV in a context of conflicts.

Aline Schulthess, Aids-Hilfe Bern, Switzerland, talks about the needs of and services for HIV+ women/men living in Switzerland who experienced sexual violence in their country of origin (trauma, long term consequences of sexual violence).

Monika Christophori, Swiss Red Cross, Switzerland, shares experiences on the relevance of institutional anchorage of dealing with sexual violence and HIV in international cooperation.

Dr. med. Hansjakob Furrer, University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Inselspital, Bern provides the medical information on emergency treatment for survivors of sexual violence, especially HIV Post-Expositions Prophylaxis (PEP).

Co-organisation: and terre des hommes schweiz

Information and registration: is a platform set up by the Network Medicus Mundi Switzerland. is sponsored and shaped by its 27 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, Déclaration de Berne, FEPA, Fédération Genevoise de Coopération, Gemeinschaft St. Anna-Schwestern, IAMANEH Switzerland, Kindernothilfe Schweiz, Kwa Wazee, medico international Switzerland, mediCuba-Suisse, missio, mission21, 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.