aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
October 2019

Oct 10, 2019


The Public Health World is Not Yet Ready to Talk about Sexual Pleasure

Dear aidsfocus readers,

At this year's MMS / Conference I was overwhelmed by the strength and fortitude demonstrated by the young speakers in their desire and commitment to speak up for the sexual rights and sexual health of young people.

In this regard, the question arises: Should young people enjoy having sex? And, are they actually having it? The answer is, yes, certainly (!), as long as they have received adequate sex education.

Imagine a teenage girl in rural Asia who is married before her 18th birthday and is suddenly confronted with the act of sexual intercourse without knowing much about it or ever having received sex education. Stories like this are commonplace and provoke strong emotions in me. A focus on pleasure may seem unimportant in comparison to child marriage; but there is evidence that teaching girls and women about sexual pleasure enables them to take responsibility for their own sexuality and to be in a better position to say NO.

Sex education usually disregards sexual pleasure. The focus is primarily on the fear of becoming infected by sexually transmitted diseases. Sexuality is to be suppressed and controlled. The pleasure-based approach, in contrast, regards sexual pleasure as an important element of sex education in order to strengthen the self-confidence and self-esteem of both women and men. This approach makes it possible for people to deal with their own sexuality in a more responsible way.

Medicus Mundi Switzerland advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and supports alternative methods such as the pleasure-based approach in order to improve sexual and reproductive health across the world. You can read more about the Pleasure Project in the article by Arushi Singh and Anne Philpott.

Carine Weiss


Project Leader, Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Pleasure as a measure of agency and empowerment

MMS - WHO’s definition of sexual health (2006) mentions that it “…requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences…” When discussions are limited to negative aspects of sexuality, they give people an unrealistic view of sexual well-being as something that is separate from sexual pleasure. It also disconnects how people feel and think about sex. Encouraging discussions about desire, sexual pleasure and confidence in negotiating consensual and pleasurable sex, promotes empowerment and can also increase confidence. (Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)


Information from the Swiss community of practice

Sexual Rights: Giving Young People a Voice

MMS Bulletin - Online-Bulletin of the MMS/ conference of 8 May 2019


Mental Health has a major influence on HIV treatment in young people - study on adherence

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - Many young people struggle with their HIV infection and the lifetime of antiretroviral therapy that it means. They need particularly close support to ensure that their treatment continues uninterrupted. The need to understand and comprehensively address the health care needs of this key population is vital to the epidemic. Study by the Ruedi Lüthy Foundation on adherence in HIV-positive adolescents and young adults. (Photo: Therapy sessions are often the first time that many have talked about their HIV story.


«Ich musste lernen mir für HIV zu vergeben»

Aids-Hilfe Schweiz - Vor fünf Jahren erhielt Christoph Philipp Klettermayer in Indien die Diagnose HIV-positiv. Er kann sich noch an jedes Detail jenes 2. Januar 2014 in Mumbai erinnern. Nach schwierigen Jahren hat Klettermayer einen Umgang mit seiner Krankheit gefunden. Nun ist er zum ersten Mal nach der Diagnose wieder nach Indien gereist.


SolidarMed gewinnt Pfizer-Preis

SolidarMed - Der renommierte Pfizer-Forschungspreis für Infektiologie geht dieses Jahr an das Schweizer Hilfswerk SolidarMed. Mit Dr. Josephine A. Muhairwe und Isaac K. Ringera werden gleich zwei Mitarbeitende von SolidarMed in Lesotho ausgezeichnet für ihre wegweisende Studie zur HIV-Bekämpfung in ihrem Land.


Focus: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Bundesrat gibt ein starkes Zeichen zugunsten der globalen Gesundheit

Medicus Mundi Schweiz (MMS/Basel, 21. August 2019) - Finanzielles Bekenntnis zum Global Fund und UNAIDS: Der Bundesrat hat sich mit den heutigen Finanzentscheiden zugunsten des Globalen Fonds zur Bekämpfung von HIV/Aids, Tuberkulose und Malaria und zugunsten von UNAIDS politisch hinter zwei wichtige Institutionen für die Gesundheit weltweit gestellt. Der Entscheid soll nicht zuletzt auch Genf als Welthauptstadt der globalen Gesundheit sichern helfen.


Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment – Less Than Half-Way To Mark

Health Policy Watch - "The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, and Malaria’s Sixth Replenishment Conference opens Wednesday in Lyon, France with the aim to secure some US$14 billion in funding for the next three years to tackle the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.


Global Fund chief: 'I'm not going to count my chickens'

Devex - "NEW YORK — In two weeks, the global health community will find out if it is still possible to achieve ambitious funding goals at a moment of multilateral disarray — and if so, how.


The Global Fund's Sixth Replenishment Conference: a challenge for France, a challenge for global health

The Lancet - "By hosting the Sixth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon, France, on Oct 9–10, 2019, President Emmanuel Macron reaffirms France's longstanding contribution to the fight against these three diseases.


Global Fund Partnership has Saved 32 Million Lives

The Global Fund - "GENEVA – Programs supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have saved 32 million lives, according to a report released today. The Results Report 2019 shows great progress against some of the biggest challenges in the fight against the three diseases, while highlighting new threats.


HIV prevention and the Global Fund – a pivotal moment in the response

Frontline AIDS - "How is it possible that, in 2018, an estimated 1.7 million people acquired HIV? Almost forty years in to the epidemic, it’s not as if we don’t know enough about HIV, how it’s transmitted and the devastating impact it can have on people’s health.


Lessons Learned: Implementation of the Young Key Populations Programmes in the Global Fund Grant

Global Fund Advocacy Network (GFAN) - "LOLIPOP is a programme designed to increase testing, treatment, and adherence, and decrease new infection among young key populations in Indonesia. In 2016, this programme was implemented under the Global Fund Grant. The study aimed to [1] document activities targeting YKP under Global Fund Grant; [2] analyse the key achievement and challenge during the programme; and [3] know how the engagement of YKPs during the planning, implementation, and monitoring of the activities.


International news

California Makes PrEP and PEP Available Without Prescription

Advocate - "Pharmacists in California will be able to dispense HIV prevention drugs without a prescription beginning next year under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making the state the first in the nation to allow such an arrangement. - The state is the first in the nation to expand access this way, something advocates say is key for rural and minority populations.


Weiterer Rückgang von HIV: 425 neu gemeldete Fälle im Jahr 2018

Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG) - "Bern, 07.10.2019 - Die Zahl der HIV-Diagnosen erreicht dank Screening und frühzeitiger Behandlung einen historischen Tiefstand: 2018 wurden dem Bundesamt für Gesundheit 425 neue Fälle gemeldet, 4,5 Prozent weniger als 2017. Auch die Präexpositionsprophylaxe hat wahrscheinlich zu dieser Abnahme beigetragen. Bei den anderen sexuell übertragbaren Infektionen wurde ein Anstieg der Gonorrhoe-Fälle verzeichnet, der auf ein erweitertes Screening zurückzuführen ist.


AIDS2020 - Registration is now open!

International AIDS Society: "Registration is now open for the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020). For the first time ever, the world’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS will be hosted simultaneously in two neighbouring cities, San Francisco and Oakland, US, on 6-10 July 2020.


HIV2020: Learning from people on the frontline of the HIV response

Frontline AIDS - "Communities and groups most affected by HIV are vital to shaping the next phase of the epidemic response. Frontline AIDS stands in solidarity with our partners and people on the frontline of the HIV epidemic and supports the efforts of the organisers of HIV2020 to open up a space for all voices to be heard.


Does the UN’s Universal Health Coverage declaration fail the most vulnerable people?

Frontline AIDS - "Following this week’s High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in New York, Seb Rowlands tells us why the political declaration didn’t go far enough for the people most affected by HIV.


Reports and Studies

Resurgence: Could AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria make comebacks?

Global Fund Advocacy Network (GFAN) - "The world has made remarkable progress over the past two decades to address AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and increased investment can help ensure disease resurgence does not undo these gains. Stepped-up funding for the Global Fund and U.S. bilateral programs is our best defense against future disease resurgence.


The problem with patents

Frontline AIDS - "Commitments to HIV and universal health coverage are being undermined in middle-income countries. A joint blog by Othoman Mellouk, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), and Matteo Cassolato, Frontline AIDS.


‘Test and treat’ programmes are failing to reach people at highest risk of HIV transmission - "Programmes to scale-up HIV testing and treatment in countries in sub-Saharan Africa may have had less impact on new HIV infections than hoped, partly because they haven’t paid enough attention to groups that contribute disproportionately to HIV acquisition and transmission, experts say.


UNAIDS calls for greater urgency as global gains slow and countries show mixed results towards 2020 HIV targets

UNAIDS - "Impressive advances in some countries, troubling failures in others as available resources for HIV fall by nearly US$ 1 billion. The pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to treatment and ending AIDS-related deaths is slowing down according to a new report released today by UNAIDS. UNAIDS’ Global AIDS Update, Communities at the centre, shows a mixed picture, with some countries making impressive gains while others are experiencing rises in new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.


Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free - 2019 Report

UNAIDS - "The Start Free Stay Free AIDS Free report reveals a mixed story. The global targets set for 2018 have been missed by a wide margin in some subregions and countries. Some countries, however, have shown impressive progress and achieved success across all the target areas. These country examples demonstrate that success is possible and highlight the need for a paradigm shift in action across all focus countries to reach the targets by 2020.


Adolescent HIV treatment in South Africa's national HIV programme: a retrospective cohort study

The Lancet HIV - "The number of South African adolescents receiving HIV care and treatment in South Africa is growing. By use of routinely collected laboratory data from South Africa's National HIV Programme, we aimed to quantify the numbers of adolescents accessing HIV care and treatment over time, characterise the role of perinatal infection in these trends, and estimate proportions of adolescents seeking HIV care and antiretroviral therapy (ART) in South Africa's public sector.



Entwicklungszusammenarbeit: Afrika und die Agenda 2030

mission 21, 17. und 18. Oktober 2019, Basel - Der Kurs vermittelt fundierte Kenntnisse der globalen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit und deren Auswirkungen auf afrikanische Gesellschaften. Die Teilnehmenden setzen sich kritisch mit verschiedenen Entwicklungsansätzen auseinander und befassen sich mit den wichtigsten Diskursen und strukturellen Rahmenbedingungen.


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?


Inequity in Health Persists: Should Switzerland Be Concerned?

MMS, 6. November 2019, Basel - Inequity is one of the strongest drivers of poor health within a population. Health equity resonates with the SDGs’ overarching principle of leaving no one behind and the implicit moral imperative of achieving social justice. Health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different population groups related to, for example, poverty, disability, race, class and gender.


How to advance cooperation and solidarity beyond aid

Medicus Mundi International (MMI),15-16 November 2019, Kampala - A workshop organized by Medicus Mundi International together with interested civil society partners within and beyond the Network shall provide another space for sharing and strategizing among civil societ y organizations engaged in or dealing/struggling with “aid”.


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.

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