In April of this year, a vocal minority of governments barred several organizations representing gay men and other men who have sex with men, trans people, sex workers and people who use drugs and from around the world from participating in the United Nations High-level Meeting on HIV. A handful of UN Member States took this a step further by then blocking the inclusion of important language on addressing the epidemic among these key populations in the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. Both these occurrences provided yet another reminder for many activists around the world of how little progress has been made in protecting and advancing the legal and human rights of marginalized communities. These events sparked a renewed call from activists demanding that services for key populations be made a top priority of the global AIDS movement, just in time for the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa.Read more
[Originally published on Huffington Post]
For over a year, AIDS advocates across the country have been publicly challenging presidential candidates to make concrete commitments to the policies and funding needed to curb the AIDS pandemic. For an entire year, student AIDS activists questioned candidates publicly at campaign events throughout the country, prompting verbal agreements from both democratic and republican primary challengers. Starting in May, a coalition of advocates have been engaging with the Clinton, Sanders, and Trump campaigns to get agreement on a consensus statement with a range of domestic and global asks.
Today, Health GAP joined Ugandan civil society partner organizations, under the umbrella of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, in speaking out against a brutal and unlawful police raid on August 4th, 2016 targeting Ugandans celebrating LGBTI Pride.Read more
Last week, Health GAP was in South Africa for the bi-annual International AIDS Conference. AIDS 2016 was special. After 16 years, the conference returned to South Africa, a country with the world’s largest HIV epidemic, and to Durban, a city where 16 years ago activists catalyzed a sea-change in the world’s response to the AIDS epidemic in the Global South. One week later, we’re still talking about the moments from the International AIDS Conference that left us feeling inspired to continue our work in the fight for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention and care.
Returning to Durban, South Africa for the International AIDS Conference sixteen years later, the issue of high drug prices remains front and center. First generation antiretroviral medicines remain accessible and affordable in most low- and middle-income countries and some people in some regions have access to low-priced second-generation medicines because of voluntary licenses and discounted prices. But millions of people with HIV and their governments, especially in middle-income countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and in the Mideast and North Africa, face antiretroviral drug prices that are exclusionary because of drug monopolies. And yet, people with HIV have better access than most – our brothers and sisters living with cancer, hepatitis, mental illness, and other treatable health conditions face unrelenting intellectual property barriers. Meanwhile, the Indian generic industry - often referred to as "the pharmacy of the developing world" - is under threat.Read more