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.

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.

Women build plan of political incidence for the northeast states of Brazil

October 23, 2009

“Living, and not to be ashamed of being happy, to sing, to sing and to sing the beauty of being an eternal learner.”

29 women singing together the song What is it, by Gozanguinha – one of the greatest Brazilian composers and singers. That was the way, after building a plan of political incidence for each state of the northeast of Brazil, the Workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Rights , Violence and AIDS for Seropositve Women from the Region came to the end. The event, designed and coordinated by Gestos, took place in Recife, between September 23rd and 27th.

Intensive discussions and learning were held in four days, contributing for the political strengthening of seropositive women leaderships to act on instances of social control. They also elaborated a profile of their states concerning the progresses and the challenges of public policies to people living with HIV/AIDS, mainly women.  The moment was very important for the integration between states and for exchanging experiences on public policies on social control.

WORKSHOPS – During the workshops on leadership, violence against women, feminism, advocacy, the seropositve women were able to live and understand the sense of monitoring the UNGASS-AIDS goals, through reflections and the share of learned lessons. News from all over the world was used in the national and international policies workshop, aiming to evaluate the happenings throughout the world, relate them to the epidemic fight and the vulnerability to the HIV/AIDS, as well as to reinforce the link between international agreements and local policies.

The relation between AIDS, poverty and illiteracy was one of the aspects that called the participants attention. They reinforced the importance to intensify the works on prevention in their states, through the awareness of politicians and laws makers. The analysis, in groups, of the UNGASS-AIDS goals has also brought up common problems of all states: lack of funding for prevention programmes, difficulties faced by HIV+ pregnant women – stories of not getting tests results in time, not having the appropriate counseling including information on delivery and lactation – the need of specific researches about the use of  antretroviral therapies and the sides effects on women bodies and the AIDS socio-economic impact on their lives, still permeated with prejudice and discrimination. Women form all states reported problems on the Plan to Combat the Feminization of AIDS and other STD implantation.

As main product of the workshop, the political incidence plan of each state, consolidated on the last day, aims to create working strategies to fight some of these problems. Each state pointed out their main issues and listed actions and possible partnerships. The idea is that women can implement the plan on an articulated and strategic way. Another meeting will happen in the next six months to evaluate the actions and make new plans.

Gestos invited by UNAIDS to participate in the Regional Workshop on UNGASS-AIDS 2010

October 23, 2009

To consolidate the process of preparation of the country reports for UNGASS 2010, to analyze the Declaration of Commitment indicators, signed by the countries in 2001, and to know the computerized tools for the 2010 report, were the main objectives of the Regional Workshop on UNGASS-AIDS 2010. The meeting, organized by UNAIDS, gathered representatives of the civil society and governments, between September 8th and 11th, in Santiago, Chile. The Country Reports should be turned in up to March 31st, 2010.

During the workshop – which was more practical than theoretical – Gestos had the opportunity to present the experience of  the project Monitoring of UNGASS-AIDS goals on Sexual and Reproductive Health – supported by the Ford Foundation, in 16 countries – as an UNAIDS guest. According to the activist Jair Brandão, who was representing the institution at the event, “the participation of Gestos was very nice, because the process of monitoring the UNGASS-AIDS goals by the civil society is still one of the best catalyzers to maintain and progress the monitoring and the evaluation at a national level.”

At the meeting, there were representatives of the AIDS Programmes of 17 countries of Latin and Central America, UNAIDS, PNUD, UNICEF and of the civil society, invited by UNAIDS and by the countries governments, as Gestos (Brazil), LACASSO (Argentina), Allianza (Argentina) e ASOSIDA (Chile).

Regional UNGASS Workshop in Chile Promoted by UNAIDS

September 3, 2009

Between September 8th and 11th, UNAIDS gathers, in Chile, the civil society and the governments of Latin American and the Caribbean for the UNGASS Regional Workshop. The aim is to consolidate the process of elaboration of the countries reports to be sent up to March 31st, 2010. Besides that, the meeting will be an opportunity to analyze key indicators within the framework of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV in the UNGASS, based on the guidelines for 2010 report. Gestos, invited by UNAIDS, will be represented by the activist Jair Brandão, who will be presenting the experience of SC in monitoring UNGASS in Brazil and Gestos’s experience internationally.