Recife holds the VI UNGASS-AIDS Forum of Brazil

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.

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