aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
December 2019

Dec 01, 2019


World AIDS Day 2019

Dear aidsfocus readers,

On 1 December we observe World AIDS Day which is intended to remind us annually of the more than 37.9 million people around the world who are infected with HIV.

The HIV epidemic highlights the blind spots of society: where there are inequalities, power imbalances, violence, marginalisation, taboos, stigmatisation and discrimination, HIV becomes visible. This makes the work required all the harder, because it is precisely these topics that politics avoids.

The epidemic has changed over the years: today it is concentrated chiefly among the so-called 'key populations' of sex workers, drug users, gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people and prisoners.

This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is putting the focus on communities. And rightly so! Because the almost insurmountable human rights violations experienced by HIV-infected people on a daily basis can be overcome with the strengthening of and education within communities. When communities get organised and strengthen each other, repression can be replaced by rights and access to HIV services can be made easier. Peer-to-peer counsellors, local health workers, door-to-door service providers, activists and networks of people living with or affected by HIV all play a central role in counteracting stigmatisation and discrimination.

The Swiss AIDS Federation is also fighting against stigmatisation and discrimination in our country. Here, even today there is a lack of knowledge and information about the fact that HIV-infected people to do not infect anyone if their viral load is undetectable. The 'horror stories' from the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic are still in our minds. Andreas Lehner, director of the Swiss AIDS Foundation makes this very clear when he says: "HIV-positive people in successful treatment do not infect anyone, not even during sex. This message from our campaign has not yet got through to large parts of the population."

Our Topic of the Month, "We will not end AIDS if we do not recognise human rights" is also dedicated to this subject.


And finally, some information on our own behalf

The Medicus Mundi Switzerland new strategy period from 2020-2023 is integrating the newsletter and the website, with their focus on HIV/AIDS topics, as part of Medicus Mundi Switzerland's work on sexual and reproductive health and rights. This means we are discontinuing the website. If you would like to be kept up to date on current topics related to HIV/AIDS and, in particular, on sexual and reproductive health, please sign up for the MMS Newsletter HERE. We would be delighted to continue to welcome you as our readers.

Now all that is left for us to do is to wish you a happy Advent season!

With best wishes

Carine Weiss, MMS Project Manager on SRHR Issues & Martina Staenke, MMS Communications Manager


Topic of the month

World AIDS Day 2019 - We will not End AIDS if We do not Recognise Human Rights

MMS/ - Why in 2019 do We Still not Have the HIV/AIDS Epidemic under Control? A crucial aspect is the violation of human rights, as can be observed worldwide. After decades of experience in HIV/AIDS work, we know that human rights are indivisible from the pandemic and that the HIV/AIDS epidemic cannot be ended without a consistent human rights and gender-based approach. (Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development/flickr, CC BY 2.0)


Information from the Swiss community of practice

Welt-Aids-Tag 2019 - Gemeinsam für mehr Wissen

Aids-Hilfe Schweiz - Am 1. Dezember ist Welt-Aids-Tag. Weltweit sind Menschen aufgefordert, im Kampf gegen Aids und HIV aktiv zu werden und ihre Solidarität gegenüber Menschen mit HIV zu zeigen. Mit einer Kampagne zum Welt-Aids-Tag sorgte die Aids-Hilfe Schweiz vor einem Jahr für Aufsehen. Kampagnenleiter Nathan Schocher erklärt, weshalb die Kampagne in diesem Jahr erneut durchgeführt wird.


«Der Schweizerische Menschenrechtspreis 2019 ehrt mich sehr»

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - Die internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte Sektion Schweiz verleiht Prof. Ruedi Lüthy den Schweizerischen Menschenrechtspreis 2019. Er wird für sein grosses Engagement im Kampf gegen HIV/Aids geehrt. «Diese Anerkennung meiner Arbeit ist eine grosse Freude für mich», sagt Prof. Ruedi Lüthy, Gründer der Ruedi Lüthy Foundation.


«Auf gehts» – das Kondom als Botschaftsträger der neuen Kampagne LOVE LIFE

Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG), Bern, 4.11.2019 - "Am 4. November 2019 ist die neue Kampagne LOVE LIFE des Bundesamts für Gesundheit, der Aids-Hilfe Schweiz und SEXUELLE GESUNDHEIT Schweiz unter dem Motto «Auf gehts» gestartet. Sie rückt das Kondom ganz in den Mittelpunkt und zeigt den Moment, in dem es «auf geht» zum Safer Sex.


Focus: World AIDS Day 2019

World AIDS Day 2019 message from UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima

UNAIDS - "1 December 2019: I believe in communities. Communities make change happen. Communities are the best hope for ending AIDS because communities have fought against HIV right from the beginning! As the epidemic raged through our countries, cities, villages, women held communities together and bore the higher burden of care for their families.


World AIDS Day 2019 Virtual Issue - Communities make the difference

International AIDS Society - "Since the beginning of the epidemic, the HIV response has been largely driven by communities, calling for access to life-saving treatments, advocating for the rights of people living with HIV and providing voluntary counselling and testing, HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support. Without community involvement, fewer HIV services would be available particularly for key populations, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people.


Power to the people

UNAIDS - "A new report by UNAIDS, Power to the people, released ahead of World AIDS Day, shows that where people and communities living with and affected by HIV are engaged in decision-making and HIV service delivery, new infections decline and more people living with HIV gain access to treatment. When people have the power to choose, to know, to thrive, to demand and to work together, lives are saved, injustices are prevented and dignity is restored.


International news

Innovative WHO HIV testing recommendations aim to expand treatment coverage

World Health Organisation - "The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new recommendations to help countries reach the 8.1 million people living with HIV who are yet to be diagnosed, and who are therefore unable to obtain lifesaving treatment.


New Zealand launches world's first HIV positive sperm bank

The Guardian - "Effort aims to reduce the stigma experienced by those living with the virus. The world’s first HIV positive sperm bank has been launched in an effort to reduce the stigma experienced by those living with the virus.


Promises Alone Cannot Save Our Lives

The Global Fund - "At the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon, France, in October, a group of young people representing youth populations affected by HIV, TB and malaria penned the following response to the open letter to 7-year-olds.


The Emotional Challenges of Living with HIV

Viiv Healthcare - "Science in HIV treatment has travelled long and far, but what about the emotional and stigma related challenges of living with HIV? HIV has changed. Thanks to treatment advances, people living with HIV (PLHIV) now have a longer life expectancy. However, emotional challenges continue to impact many people’s day-to-day lives.


How is it possible that, in 2018, an estimated 1.7 million people acquired HIV?

Frontline AIDS - "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.


Reports and Studies

HIV self-testing services for female sex workers, Malawi and Zimbabwe

WHO Bulletin - "In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of HIV infection in the general female population that is attributable to sex work is estimated to be between 13.6 and 22.1%. In spite of the overall reduction in new HIV infections in the general population, the prevalence and incidence of HIV among female sex workers remain extremely high. At the same time as being disproportionately affected by HIV infection, female sex workers are highly marginalised and least likely to take up voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services, as they have to contend with multiple barriers to accessing services. (Summary from Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH)


Translating community research into global policy reform for national action

World Health Organisation / Salamander Trust - "Translating community research into global policy reform for national action. A checklist for community engagement to implement the WHO Consolidated guideline on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV.


Removing human rights-related barriers

The Global Fund - "Human rights are important to the Global Fund. The organization recognizes that maximum impact in the fight against the three diseases cannot be achieved without taking the human rights of beneficiaries into account.



20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa

ICASA 2-7 December 2019, Kigali, Ruanda - The International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) is a major bilingual international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa. Its current biennial hosting alternates between Anglophone and Francophone African countries. The 2019 ICASA will be held in Rwanda.


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.



The International AIDS Society, 6-10 July 2020, San Francisco -The 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) will take place 6-10 July in Oakland and San Francisco. The International AIDS Conference is the world’s largest gathering on HIV and AIDS.

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