April 2015

Apr 10, 2015


No one left behind!

Dear aidsfocus reader

Fewer people talk about HIV in prisoners. When I started to look for articles on this topic I did not find much information. However it is clear, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are a major problem in prisons. Globally, an estimated 10 million people are incarcerated per year with an annual turnover of around 30 million moving between prison and the community, with the main proportion in Russia, China and the United States. HIV prevalence within prisons is estimated to be between 2 and 10 times those of the general adult population.

The transmission paths are well known: The use of contaminated injecting equipment when using drugs is one of the primary routes of HIV transmission in prisons. High-risk sexual activities are common and the unavailability or non-use of condoms is very frequent. In addition, tattooing is a widespread activity especially in Russian’s prisons and usually performed without fresh or sterile instruments.

Exact figures do not exist, but lack of data is not a reason to stop or not to initiate prevention, voluntary testing and treatment programs among vulnerable groups such as prisoners. A challenging work given the fact that access to prisons are often difficult or undesirable.

We can look forward to Dr. Laurant Gétaz speech about „Syphilis, HIV and other STIs in a female prison in Bolivia“ at the conference „HIV/Aids and vulnerable groups – no one left behind“

Don’t forget to register for the conference:

Conference 2015: HI/AIDS and vulnerable groups - No one left behind

Carine Weiss, MSc MIH


Project leader Medicus Mundi Switzerland

Topic of the Month

Topic of the Month: HIV/AIDS in Prison

Without addressing the needs of key populations a sustainable response to HIV will not be achieved To date, most governments have failed to address HIV among prison populations. HIV prevention programmes are rarely made available to inmates, and many prisoners with HIV are unable to access life-saving antiretroviral treatment.


International news

WHO and the health of LGBT individuals

The Lancet, 21 March 2015 - In his Offline, Richard Horton recently emphasised WHO's “persisting weaknesses” ahead of their Executive Board session. With WHO reform in the air, Director-General Margaret Chan stated in her opening remarks that the “agenda covers some of the most pressing public health problems” and that there is “growing evidence that well-functioning and inclusive health systems contribute to social cohesion, equity, and stability.”


Ebola and HIV: how to change behaviour for the long term

Irin news, NAIROBI, 20 March 2015 - There have been no new Ebola infections in Liberia in the past three weeks, but it’s still far too early to say the virus has been defeated – Liberia’s borders are porous and its neighbours have been less successful in taming their outbreaks.


Empowering women is critical to ending the AIDS epidemic

UNAIDS, Geneva, 8 March 2015—As we celebrate International Women’s Day, world leaders and civil society are gathering in New York to take part in the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. There, they will review the progress made since the adoption 20 years ago of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which set ambitious targets designed to improve the lives of women around the world.


Special Edition for International Women’s Day

The Global Fund, 6 March 2015 - "Maurine Murenga’s story could begin on the morning she learned she was HIV positive. Or it could begin the afternoon when her boyfriend, who had also just tested HIV positive, left their shared apartment in Nairobi, Kenya, never to return, even though she was pregnant with their first baby.


Reports and Studies

UNAIDS Strategy: Virtual consultation on UNAIDS 2016-2021 strategy

UNAIDS wants to hear from you: As a global community, we have set our sights on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. To reach this objective, the response must be urgently fast-tracked through a change agenda.


Seeking input into the development of three 2016-2021 Global Health Sector Strategies: HIV/AIDS; Viral Hepatitis; and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

World Health Organisation - The draft global health sector strategy on STIs for 2016– 2021 has been developed for discussion during a series of multi-stakeholder consultations from March to December 2015. The strategy builds on the Global strategy for the prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections 2006-2015, and will be closely aligned with the post-2015 health and development agenda and targets, and the drive towards universal health coverage.


Key Populations Action Plan 2014-2017

The Global Fund - This document provides outlines five strategic objectives to guide the inclusion of key populations and their needs in every step of the grant life cycle. It also provides an expanded definition of the term “key populations”.


HIV and adolescents: focus on young key populations

Journal of the International AIDS Society 2015 - Adolescents and young adults are at increased risk for HIV due to the many developmental, psychological, social, and structural transitions that converge in this period of the lifespan. In addition, adolescent deaths resulting from HIV continue to rise despite declines in other age groups.


To Protect and Serve

Open Society Foundations - Recent studies from Ukraine, for example - a country I visit often in my role as UN Special Envoy - have estimated that fear of police is the single greatest factor associated with needle sharing among people who inject drugs, and that the elimination of police violence could reduce new HIV infections among people who use drugs in Odessa by as much as 19 percent.



The Future of the Swiss Engagement against Malaria

Basel, 22 April 2015 | Swiss Malaria group - Malaria remains an important public health challenge and a main cause of morbidity and mortality in many countries. Therefore it is the major goal of the Swiss Engagement to support research and effective and sustainable interventions and strategies to further reduce malaria prevalence and incidence.


Community participation in Public Health

Basel, 23 April 2015 | Swiss TPH - Since the early 1970s, participatory approaches involving community members have been used in the public health sector as a strategy to improve the quality of health services as well as their accessibility. The approaches and their underlying concepts, frameworks and methods have varied greatly in past and present.

read more... Conference 2015

Bern, 7 May 2015 | - This year’s annual aidsfocus conference will focus on vulnerable groups such as Sex workers, injecting drug users; migrants or prisoners.

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.