aidsfocus news

aidsfocus news
October 2016

Oct 26, 2016


Dear aidsfocus readers,

In China, doctors charge extortionate fees before they will operate on HIV-positive patients. In Kenya, HIV-positive women are forcibly sterilised. In Switzerland, an infected man described how a space suddenly opened up around him in a crowd when he revealed that he had dropped his HIV medication. HIV-positive people are forced to answer the question: how did you get AIDS? How and where were you infected? Questions which, with regard to other illnesses like, for example, cancer or diabetes, are never asked.

The AIDS epidemic has been a wake-up call for us all: human dignity is violable! There are countless examples like the ones above. Even thirty years after the outbreak of this disease, human rights' violations, stigmatisation and discrimination against infected people are key factors in the impediment or denial of adequate prevention and treatment. Annually, around one million people worldwide die because fear of stigmatisation prevents them from seeking treatment. The fight goes on and it must continue with increased commitment if we are to achieve the 2030 goal of “Zero Discrimination”.

The era of the great AIDS campaigns is over. However, it is clear that without the reactivation of these campaigns and their political commitment, their advocacy for the rights of those affected and the mobilisation of communities, the targeted objectives will not be achieved. “Invest in advocacy” is hence one of the key factors in the UNAIDS Fast Track Campaign: people must be informed about their rights and empowered to stand up for them. Studies prove that the mobilisation of communities and the implementation of advocacy programmes significantly reduces the incidence of at risk groups becoming infected with HIV. After more than thirty years of experience with HIV/AIDS programmes and projects, it is increasingly recognised that the inclusion of infected people and communities leads to better results, for example, in adherence to medication, than state healthcare institutions can produce.

The motor for these movements has always been committed personalities who relay their vision and hope with strong personal commitment, heart and mind. Courageous people such as the HIV-positive vicar from South Africa, Phumzile Mabizela, who is portrayed in our Aids Hilfe Bern “Topic of the Month” and who boldly names the problems, empathetically advocates for infected people and campaigns for greater public tolerance.

Martina Staenke
Collaborator communication Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the month

Ngiyaphila - Spirituality and Sexuality

Aids Hilfe Bern - Film Premiere at the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban: The HIV-positive, female vicar from South Africa, Phumzile Mabizela, presents with "Brot für die Welt" and STEPS (Documentary films for social change) a documentary about her work. The film depicts an energetic woman who champions infected people in the community by speaking out about HIV and sexuality.


Information from the Swiss community of practice

HPV vaccination for all girls

Ruedi Lüthy Foundation - One year after opening, the new Women's Health Centre is in full swing, with some 350 of our patients using its services every month.


Le contrôle de la charge virale - un outil important

mediCuba Suisse - La partie essentielle de la phase actuelle du projet est le contrôle de la charge virale. Jusqu’à maintenant cela se faisait qu’irrégulièrement à Matanzas (Cuba).


International news

FAQ on the 2017-2019 Funding Cycle

The Global Fund - "The allocation-based funding model remains largely unchanged for the 2017-2019 funding cycle. Eligible countries will receive a communication on their allocation amount in December 2016 and will be able to access new funding over the 2017-2019 period.


A new meta-analysis of PrEP use suggests that men who rely on PrEP have higher rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

AIDS2016 - "The jury is still out whether taking PrEP, which drastically reduces the risk of becoming HIV positive during condomless sex, leads to higher rates of other STIs.


Women’s bodily integrity: linking criminalisation of abortion and criminalisation of HIV

The Lancet Global Health Blog - "On Sept 28, was the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. This day was declared by the women’s health movement in 1990, and attention to the lack of access to safe and legal abortion has remained at the forefront of debate worldwide. (Blog by Susana T Fried a Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Global Health Justice Partnership.)


The HIV/AIDS situation in India, and how the new Bill will protect victims

The Indian Express - "More than two years after it was introduced in Rajya Sabha, a revised draft of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, which makes discriminating against a person living with HIV/AIDS a punishable offence, was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. How will it change things in India’s HIV/AIDS situation?


Russia faces HIV epidemic with 1 million positive cases; Kremlin blames moral lapses

ABC- "Russia has reached a shocking milestone, with over 1 million people officially registered with HIV.


Malawi villagers embrace HIV self-testing

WHO - "Malawi has one of the highest HIV rates, with an estimated 1 in 10 people living with HIV. Most of those people living with HIV remain unaware of their status. According to the Malawi Ministry of Health, only 1 in 3 Malawians were tested for HIV in 2015.


Reports and Studies

Voluntary medical male circumcision: a core campaign to reach the Fast-Track Targets

UNAIDS - "Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a cost-effective, one-time intervention that provides lifelong partial protection against female-to-male HIV transmission.


Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in low- and middle-income countries by 2030: is it possible?

F1000Research - "The international community has committed to ending the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical infections by 2030, and this bold stance deserves universal support. In this paper, we discuss whether this ambitious goal is achievable for HIV/AIDS and what is needed to further accelerate progress.


Cities ending the AIDS epidemic

UNAIDS - "Cities have inherent advantages in responding to complex health problems such as HIV. They are dynamic centres of economic growth, education, innovation and positive social change. Cities have large service infrastructures and—through the power of networks—have the potential to deliver services where they are most needed, in a way that is both equitable and efficient while respecting the dignity of its citizens."


Condoms: The prevention of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies

UNAIDS 2016 Meeting Report


Studies towards a"cure" for HIV

Imperial College London - "Sarah Fidler, Professor of HIV and Communicable Diseases, talks about the current status of HIV treatment and the trial of a potential new cure for the disease at the third Imperial College AHSC seminar."



Working in Fragile Contexts and Building up Resilient Health Systems

Medicus Mundi Schweiz Symposium, 2 November 2016 - To end preventable child and maternal deaths, create an AIDS-Free Generation, and protect communities against infectious diseases such as Ebola, we need effective, functional health systems that can deliver essential health services to those in need. International health organisations are more and more obliged to work in fragile contexts where the environment is marked by instability, the public structures are weak or quick to collapse and the rule of law is lacking.


How to Best Apply a Human Rights-based Approach to Sexual and Reproductive Health

Medicus Mundi Switzerland Workshop, 23 November 2016 - In recent years we have seen a renewed global commitment to a human rights-based approach to development and, particularly to the universal realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). There is a compelling level of evidence that the human rights-based approach has contributed to health gains of women and children.


Building on Success – Malaria Control and Elimination

Swiss TPH, 8 December 2016 - The Swiss TPH Winter Symposium 2016 invites medical and health sector specialists to review and discuss the history, successes and future of Malaria Control and Elimination.

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