XVIII International AIDS Conference – Vienna

June 2, 2010

Between 18 and 25 of July, 2010, the city of Vienna, Austria, will be the stage of The XVIII International AIDS Conference. The event, with the theme “Rights here, right now” will gather activists, policy makers, persons living with HIV/AIDS and other individuals committed to ending the epidemic. Gestos will participate actively in the moment, hosting two important satellite sessions, as follows:

Date Session Organizer

(18h30 – 20h30)

2010 A year not to forget – Political and Economic Challenges for Achieving the UNGASS-AIDS Goals Gestos and Laccaso
18/07 (15h45 – 17h45) Universal Access for Women & Girls –2010 a Year Not to Forget Gestos

Recife holds the VI UNGASS-AIDS Forum of Brazil

June 1, 2010

Between May 20th and 21st, Gestos – HIV+, Communication and Gender Issues in partnership with the Support Group for AIDS Prevention (GAPA / SP) and with the support of the National STD and AIDS Programme of Brazil, the Ford Foundation and the Special Secretary of Woman of Pernambuco state, held in, Recife, the VI National UNGASS/AIDS Forum of Brazil. The central theme was the ‘Interface between policies for sexual and reproductive rights and AIDS”.

The event aimed to define collective actions of monitoring the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS-AIDS) with AIDS, gay, trans and women activists and the National STD/AIDS Programme of Brazil, encouraging greater interface between policies for sexual and reproductive health and AIDS policies in Brazil.

The implementation of specific plans for dealing with the epidemic of AIDS and other STDs among gays, men who have sex with men (MSM) and Transvestites, of the Plan to Fight the Feminization of AIDS and other STDs and of the Health and Prevention Program in Schools was also discussed at the meeting.

Forum – Altogether, 61 people from the five regions of the country, attended the forum. Among the exhibitors was Mariângela Simão, head of the National STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Programme of the Health Ministry, who presented the successes and challenges to be overcome regarding the UNGASS Goals in 2010. She also presented the process of drafting the 2010 Report and highlighted the participation of civil society in the report.

The representative of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Brazil, Pedro Chequer, also attended the event and made a presentation on Women, HIV/AIDS and the Millennium Goals.The highlight of the presentation was when Chequer spoke about the agenda for the strengthening of actions for women, girls, gender equality and HIV, pointing out the reasons – epidemiological tendency, social vulnerability of women and girls, unmet needs in the reproductive health field and the relation, increasingly evident, between violence against women and HIV / AIDS.

The interface between policies on sexual and reproductive rights and AIDS was the topic addressed by the chairman of Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Trans Population (ABGLT), Beto de Jesus. The issue was highlighted in the Plan to Fight the AIDS Epidemic in Gay, MSM and transvestites majestically by Jesus, who also pointed out the need to work heteronormativity, the fight against homophobia and the recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights.

The UNGASS and Civil Society was the theme presented by Alessandra Nilo, who highlighted the situation where we should be in 2010 and the challenges for this to be achieved. Besides her, Josineide Meneses, of Gestos, described the situation of the Plans to Fight the Feminization of AIDS in the Northeast of Brazil, which was complemented by José Carlos Veloso, of GAPA-São Paulo, bringing an overview of the three federal plans.

At the end of two days of forum, the participants prepared a political letter with recommendations regarding the MSM and Health and Prevention in Schools Plan, and the Plan to Fight the Feminization of AIDS, which will be socialized in the coming days.

UNGASS / AIDS – In order to monitor the implementation of commitments made by the Brazilian government in 2001 during the Special Session of UN General Assembly on HIV / AIDS – UNGASS – since 2003, a group of Brazilian NGOs, led by Gestos in Pernambuco, and the Support Group for AIDS Prevention of São Paulo – GAPA – SP – has organized UNGASS AIDS forums, where leaders of  AIDS, women and LGBT movements from all over the country gather to evaluate the government response related to the commitments made, identify progresses and gaps and, based on these data, define an agenda of political incidence. In 2007, Gestos extended this initiative to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

United Nations General Assembly discusses with civil society the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

June 1, 2010

The Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with Non-governmental organizations, Civil society organizations and the Private sector is an initiative of the UN General Assembly in order to provide input to the preparatory process for the ‘MDG summit’ (High-level Plenary Meeting) which will happen next September (20-22). The Hearings will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York on June 14th and 15th.

The objective of the MDG Summit is to discuss how to accelerate progress towards all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, taking into account the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals (A/RES/64/184). The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, leading to concrete strategies for action.

OP UNAIDS Forum – Peru

June 1, 2010

Between 14 and June 15 will take place in Lima, Peru, the OP UNAIDS Forum. The main objective is to present the Operational Plan for UNAIDS Action Framework – Addressing women, girls, gender equality and HIV, launched in March 2010 at the 54th Session of the CSW, in New York, for the Peruvian civil society. After the presentation, there will be a reflection process with key actors of civil society on women’s vulnerability to HIV, beyond the identification of strategic actions for greater integration between the country’s response to the epidemic of AIDS and the policies for gender equity and sexual and reproductive health.

In addition, the forum seeks to promote greater integration between the movements of HIV / AIDS and women, by raising awareness about the demands and characteristics of women to HIV / AIDS and the need to establish effective policies to empower them and reduce their vulnerability to the epidemic.

The process of UNGASS Forum in Peru is one of the points that will be presented and discussed. The expectation is to have between 30 and 40 participants. The Movimiento Manuela Ramos is the responsible for the event and will facilitate de process with Gestos.

Gestos holds meeting with legislators and seropositive women from the Northeast of Brazil

June 1, 2010

Gestos – HIV+, Communication and Gender Issues – held on the last day May 19, the Meeting between women and legislators: strengthening the actions to fight the feminization of AIDS in the Northeast of Brazil. The event had the participation of seropositive women from the nine northeastern states, members of the National Network of People Living with HIV/ IDS (RNP +), National Movement of Posithive Citizens (MNCP) and The Network of Young People Living with HIV/ IDS and of legislators from the region linked to the STD /AIDS area , public policies for women and women’s health.

The day was quite busy, with intense discussions within the group of legislators and women. The main result was the construction of a shared agenda between legislators and women to carry out actions in each state. Efforts will focus on workshops in smaller cities to inform about the Plan to Fight the Feminization of AIDS, the development of educational materials and the creation of management committees to monitor these plans.

Meeting – The meeting was part of the project Monitoring UNGASS-AIDS Goals on Sexual and Reproductive Health, funded by the Ford Foundation, which aims to strengthen the performance of seropositive women in their states by political incidence and social control of public policies, to build a map of each state situation  related to services for this public and to discuss the interface between sexual and reproductive rights, violence and AIDS, so that together – government and civil society – are capable of articulating strategies for coping with the feminization of AIDS.

The choice to act in the Northeast of the country is due to the fact that AIDS remains severely impacting the region and, contrary to what occurs in other parts of Brazil, there is no stability, but growth in the number of cases. According to the Brazilian National STD and AIDS Program – 2009, from 1997 to 2007, in the Northeast, the incidence doubled from 5,3 per 100 thousand inhabitants to 10,8 and has increased among the female population, especially the youngest.

Gestos – Since the beginning of its activities in 1993, Gestos – HIV+, Communication and Gender Issues – has been facing the feminization of AIDS developing actions for women in the prevention and care field. In recent years, has promoted meetings, seminars, public policies monitoring and developed research and publications on the subject. Moreover, it has trained leaders of seropositive women, directly contributing to their political formation and performance in areas of social control.

Integration of sexual and Reproductive health and Rights and HIV/AIDS highlighted during the V UNGASS Forum South Africa

June 1, 2010

The V UNGASS Forum South Africa, held on February 3rd and 4th, and organized by MOSAIC and Health Trust System, focused on the linkages between and integration of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS at various levels. The event had the participation of over 40 women’s organizations.

One of the main results of the forum was the preparation of a report that was submitted to South Africa National Aids Commission (SANAC) and later was annexed to South Africa’s 2010 UNGASS Report, highlighting the importance of integration between SRHR and HIV/AIDS.

The development of a SRHR policy which integrates HIV&AIDS into SRHR programmes, and conversely, SRHR into HIV&AIDS programmes and the review and update of ARV treatment guidelines to cover relevant SRHR issues beyond ARVs are some recommendations highlighted by the report.

The Forum made also recommendations to address the gaps and challenges of integration efforts in South Africa. At structural level, it recommended the development of a unified M&E framework that is informed by human rights; that takes SRHR and quality of care issues into consideration more effectively; and that allows for collection of disaggregated data on SRHR and HIV/AIDS at national, provincial and local levels.

The document will be used by the Women’s Sector in the next two years to guide its advocacy and service-related programs. And will contribute to a much broader view of treatment of HIV positive women in South Africa.

Social organizations discussed the situation of HIV/AIDS in Uruguay during the IV UNGASS Forum

June 1, 2010

More than 50 representatives of social organizations which fight against HIV/AIDS and public legislators gathered last May 21st to reflect and discuss the national situation regarding public policies on HIV/AIDS during the IV UNGASS Forum Uruguay.

A report, coordinated by MYSU and ASEPO,  which covers the progresses weaknesses and  regarding the impact on the sexual and reproductive lives of women, children and adolescents,  was presented to the the Sub-Secretary of Public Health, Jorge Enrique Venegas, and other authorities responsible for public policies related to addressing the situation of the pandemic in the country.

Among the main recommendations, to develop national policies that include coordinated actions in women’s health, SRH, HIV – AIDS – able to overcome vertical approaches – and to ensure health public services on SRH and AIDS. It also was proposed for the National Integrated Health System (SNIS) to advance over previously existing policies at public services and to ensure universal coverage and access, quality and integral care in these areas and the need to develop HIV/AIDS and SRH campaigns of public interest with an inter – institucional approach.

This activity was part of the international project on monitoring the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS-United Nations) on women’s sexual and reproductive health and HIV goals. In Uruguay, the project is coordinated by the National Coordination of MYSU and ASEPO. The International Coordination is done by Gestos, Brazil, funded by the Ford Foundation with the support of UNAIDS.