icon
ARCHIVE

It is with great joy to announce that Cedric Nininahazwe has joined GNP+ as the Love Alliance Global Advocacy Manager based in our Amsterdam office.  

Cedric has worked with several key population and community organizations for the last 15 years with increasing responsibility and authority in each of his roles; he is joining GNP+ from Y+ Global, where he has served as the Director of Programmes, Management and Governance since 2016. Cedric brings a wealth of knowledge about advocating for change, working with communities, and holding decision-makers accountable. 

‘’My advocacy experience started 15 years ago when I joined the Burundian network of young people living with HIV; throughout the journey, my passion for serving others has continued to grow along with my experience of influencing change.’’

Cedric is a lawyer by profession and has over the years built his career as a human rights activist, especially for young people, access to HIV and SRHR services, and education.

‘’My law degree has always been my intellectual weapon and source of knowledge to achieve the best of myself in human rights activism and building capacity of my fellow young leaders, I am excited to join GNP+ and the love alliance partnership, this is another opportunity for me to serve my community.’’ 

We are excited to have Cedric Nininahazwe on board; we believe his experience will be an added value as we invest in addressing structural barriers to SRHR, gender inequality, decriminalisation, financing for key populations, increased access to healthcare, and justice of people living with HIV and key population communities in all their diversity.  

We are profoundly saddened to learn of the death of former GNP+ Board and staff member Rick Stephen. Rick was a powerful HIV activist and long-term survivor, playing a key role in the HIV movement from the early days in the National Association of People Living with HIV in South Africa (NAPWA) to his coordinating efforts in several international AIDS conferences.

His activism and pragmatism were evident at the Durban 2000 International AIDS Conference ‘Breaking the Silence’, where as well as protesting against the denialism of the South African government he organised the collection of donated HIV medicines from all over the world for distribution to people living with HIV in South Africa. Rick also managed the very successful lounge for people living with HIV at AIDS2000.

Always practical and a ‘doer’, in 2003 he coordinated the 11th International conference for people living with HIV and AIDS in Kampala, Uganda.

During and after Rick’s time as a Board member in the late 1990s, he worked with GNP+ on many initiatives and especially helped guide and support new leadership and board members with his wealth of expertise, calm approach and wise advice. Rick continued to work in the sector, was a mentor and inspiration to many, always seeking to improve services and stand up to HIV stigma. Most recently, Rick was employed at the Foundation for Professional Development as an Operations Manager for their Adherence Programme. Lifelong and loyal friend to many activists, Rick knew how to enjoy life, did not take things too seriously but at the same time did not suffer fools gladly. Two people who worked alongside Rick during his time at GNP+ remember him fondly:

Stu Flavell: “I’m so grateful for Rick’s friendship and his work on behalf of HIV-positive people at GNP+. Rick was a lion and the quality of life of HIV-positive people far and wide was indeed improved by his service.”

Shaun Mellors: “He was Rick… quiet, focused, just getting on with things. No need for limelight, recognition or presence… just Rick. He made an enormous contribution to the HIV response in South Africa and globally. May it be remembered and celebrated.”

Having lost many friends and loved ones through the devastating period of HIV denialism and lack of treatment access in South Africa in the 1990s, Rick overcame many health challenges himself as well as living with HIV for more than 30 years. He sadly lost his battle to COVID on 2 August. Our heartfelt condolences to his husband Andrew Hammond, family, friends and loved ones. Rest in power, dear Rick.

28 July 2021: World Hepatitis Day takes place every year on 28 July, to raise awareness of the silent epidemic that is viral hepatitis.  

This year’s theme is ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ – marginalized populations, including children, people who inject drugs, indigenous peoples, and people living with HIV can’t wait for late diagnosis for viral hepatitis, we need to act now and protect those hardest hit from viral hepatitis, especially hepatitis D which is preventable.

Chronic hepatitis B and C are life-threatening infectious diseases that cause severe liver damage, cancer, and premature death. And, more than 300 million people are living with the hepatitis B or C virus. In the past few years, we have seen changes in global responses to viral hepatitis infections, especially Hepatitis B and C infections. However, the framework has failed to provide an adequate environment to address global hepatitis D infection.

According to WHO, Hepatitis D affects nearly 5% of people with chronic infection of the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B and D virus co-infection is considered the most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis due to more rapid progression towards liver-related death.  

However, we have seen very little attention given to Hepatitis D as public health threat despite its close link to hepatitis B infection, where it causes 1 out of 5 cases of liver disease and liver cancer among people infected with Hepatitis D. 

We have also seen minimal information available to allow for robust strategy development to respond to this threat. WHO’s 2022 – 2030 Strategy Development on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STIs has not articulated this need into concrete strategies and actions. At the same time, we have seen very little investment given to improve technologies in diagnosing and treating Hepatitis D.  

‘I was diagnosed accidentally in Russia – there is no routine testing for Hepatitis D, even in areas where we know it exists (as it was in my city Saint-Petersburg), and there is no cure for it either, says Sasha Volgina, Programme Manager at GNP+.   

‘Traditionally it is treated with pegylated interferons alpha – with severe side effects and a low success rate. Most people living with hepatitis D will need to undergo liver transplantation as rescue therapy to be cured. However, this treatment is not available for people living with HIV in countries where stigma and discrimination are high.’ 

‘In Russia or other countries of post-Soviet Union, there were zero liver transplantations done for HIV positive people, says Volgina. 

‘A Year ago, GNP+ and partners (UNAIDS, HIV Legal Network, and others) helped a man living with HIV from Russia to prove he cannot receive a liver transplant in Moscow because of his HIV status and needed to get asylum in Germany to receive treatment. Together with partners, we managed to get him asylum, and he’s now in hospital waiting for a liver transplant – however, he is the exception.’ 

We call on WHO to seize the opportunity during its new strategy development to raise awareness and mobilize commitment from global health stakeholders, including governments, donor countries, and pharmaceutical companies, to ensure hepatitis D response is well placed in the new strategy, primarily to address the following immediate needs:

  • Enhanced hepatitis B testing to include hepatitis D diagnoses
  • Better access to hepatitis B immunization for people living with HIV as a means of prevention
  • Treatment education program for people living with HIV and affected communities
  • Robust R&D framework on hepatitis D testing and treatment
  • Increased funding for harm reduction program globally

END.

Joint Press Release

Global Networks of People Living with HIV: ‘Call to Prioritize People Living with HIV for the COVID Vaccine.

Cape Town, South Africa: The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), and the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+ Global) are deeply concerned by the findings from a World Health Organization (WHO) report indicating that HIV infection is a significant independent risk factor for both severe and critical COVID-19 presentation at hospital admission and in-hospital mortality. 

The report released at the 11th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2021) found that the risk of developing severe or fatal COVID-19 was 30% greater for people living with HIV compared to people without HIV infection. 

These findings are gravely concerning and further prove the urgent need to prioritise people living with HIV as they are a high-risk population. “Last year at the beginning of COVID-19, we heard from networks of people living with HIV who were worried about having to deal with double pandemics and what this means for their health, as already some countries had to deal with ARV stock-outs exacerbated by lockdown regulations and redirecting of funds for HIV”, says Sbongile Nkosi, Co-Executive Director at GNP+. 

Globally there are an estimated 38 million people living with HIV, of which 25.7 million are from Africa. However, data shows that less than 3% of people on the continent have received a single dose of the vaccine and less than 1.5% have received both doses. The disadvantaged access to vaccines is mainly driven by the vaccines hoarding done by the  richer countries in the bid to protect the profits of their pharmaceutical corporations instead of saving lives.

“We have seen the disparities in our communities for people living with HIV, especially for people from key populations. In Eastern Europe we have had some of the highest death rates per capita and these losses in our communities are staggering. We need to prioritize people living with HIV for the vaccine”, says Olena Stryzhak, Global Chair at ICW.

The report indicates that only 40 out of 100 countries have people living with HIV on their priority list for vaccines leaving many people who need the vaccine out of its reach. We applaud the countries and governments that have rightfully prioritized people living with HIV for the vaccine and we call upon governments, especially those with a higher burden of HIV, to add people living with HIV on the priority list.The HIV community is on the road to lose all progress achieved toward ending AIDS. We cannot afford to lose lives of people at the political injustice that re-affirms the already existing inequalities.

We are also hearing deeply concerning anecdotal evidence of people living with HIV hiding their HIV status to qualify for a vaccine as a number are being rejected access as brought to our attention in a robust discussion by our Life Force who led our Beyond LIVING process. 

As we internalize this news, we at the global networks of people living with HIV will be working with our peers at country level to create awareness and support vaccine uptake by people living with HIV, and continue to document and put attention to the challenges that we experience in accessing this very important intervention that could save millions of lives. 

Like the People’s Vaccine movement, Y+ Global, ICW and GNP+ call upon all governments and pharmaceutical companies to equitably share vaccine doses, support the TRIPS waiver at the WTO, invest in developing countries’ manufacturing capacity, and share the technology.

END.

Note to Editors:

The following people are available for interviews:

  • GNP+ – Sbongile Nkosi
  • Y+ Global – Tinashe Rufurwadzo
  • ICW – Jessica Whitbread 

Please contact Lesego Tlhwale: ltlhwale@gnpplus.net to organise an interview.

The role of civil society in realising the objectives of the 2021 Political Declaration 

UN member states gathered on 8–11 June 2021 for the 2021 UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting (HLM) on HIV and AIDS. The most important outcome of the HLM, the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, was adopted during the HLM by most UN Members States. Now available is an Advocacy Brief, produced by the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force to assist Civil Society Organisations to keep governments and stakeholders accountable for the outcomes of the HLM.

Introducing the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force and the Love Alliance

This follows an engaging period in which, through the leadership of the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force (MSTF), Community and Civil Society Organisations effectively engaged in the preparation of the HLM and contributed to the development of the Political Declaration.

GNP+ and Aidsfonds were selected by UNAIDS as the NGO co-conveners of MSTF and coordinated the participation of Community and Civil Society Organisations in this process. The partnership that supported this engagement is the Love Alliance. The Love Alliance, a new five-year programme (2021-2025) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is based on an unwavering commitment to protecting, promoting and fulfilling sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally, unifying people who use drugs, sex workers and LGBTIQ+ movements, and amplifying the diversity of voices in these communities.

One of the key advocacy priorities for the Love Alliance is to influence key global strategy and planning processes, like the UNAIDS strategy development process and by extension the HLM process, the Global Fund strategy development process, and Generation Equality among others in order for the community voices to be well presented in the outcomes.

Key highlights and documents of the HLM

Some of the key highlights of the HLM experience include supporting MSTF engagement with UNAIDS and the office of the president of the UN General Assembly to prepare and execute a successful Multi-Stakeholder Hearing on 23rd of April, as well as the High-Level Meeting itself. Additionally, the team developed a community HLM engagement guide, coordinated a 3-part webinar series in 6 languages to support community engagement in the process, and supported the development of the Civil Society Declaration for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, with more than 800 signatories. And now there is also the Advocacy Brief.

The work has just begun!

The HLM process may have come to an end and the Political Declaration adopted, but for many of us, the work has just begun! Civil Society has a multitude of roles to play, from implementation to advocacy and accountability, as well as taking corrective action if governments fall short of their commitments. We must begin to develop and align advocacy strategies in our countries and communities, in order to make a difference and end AIDS by 2030.

Keeping governments and stakeholders accountable

In closing out the 2021 HLM engagement program, the Love Alliance is excited that the MSTF worked together to develop the Advocacy Brief. The document has been developed to guide communities and Civil Society on how to engage in accountability processes aimed at keeping governments and stakeholders accountable to the commitments outlined in the PD. Onwards!

Statement

16 June 2021

Amsterdam and Cape Town – The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) is delighted to announce Gerard van Mourik and Sbongile Nkosi as our new Co-Executive Directors. 

“Sbongile and Gerard both bring extensive experience and skills including public policy, advocacy, communications and organisational management,” said GNP+ Board Chair Jacquelyne Alesi. “Their passion, energy and lived experiences will help us deliver on our mission to improve the quality of life for all people living with HIV. We are confident that their collaborative and engaging joint leadership opens an exciting new chapter in GNP+’s journey.” 

GNP+ decided on a shared leadership model to help drive greater accountability and inclusivity in our organisation. Alesi added “We are thrilled to have successfully recruited our first Co-Executive Directors and we will work with them to build a culture of mutual accountability, shared decision-making and representation as well as flexibility and support.”

Sbongile is an award-winning journalist, organisational leader, and advocate for social change. She has worked for Treatment Action Campaign and was the first black woman to lead a health news agency (Health-e News Service) in South Africa. Gerard has led projects in Asia, Africa, and Europe for a range of international NGOs and UN agencies including helping to set up the board and structures of the Global Fund when it was first launched. 

“As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 emergency, GNP+ and its partners must step up collective efforts to ensure a fully funded response to HIV,” said Gerard van Mourik. “I am looking forward to working with my Co-Director Sbongile and the rest of the team to strengthen GNP+ and our support to networks of people living with HIV so that we are able to rise to the challenges faced by the HIV movement.” 

“This is a critical moment for the global AIDS response particularly for the most marginalised and stigmatised communities who continue to be left behind,” said Sbongile Nkosi. “I am glad to have the opportunity of working as a Co-Director with Gerard to apply the feminist principles of sharing power and amplify community leadership to address the inequalities that drive HIV and other epidemics like COVID-19.” 

Bridging the North-South divide, Gerard will be based in Amsterdam and Sbongile in Johannesburg. They start their new roles at GNP+ on 16 June 2021. The Board and staff team are looking forward to working with Sbongile and Gerard and continuing our work with diverse communities of people living with HIV around the world. 

The Board would like to thank the recruitment panel for their efforts and the staff team for stepping up during the transition. 

For more information or to interview our new Co-Directors, please contact: info@gnpplus.net

It is with profound sadness that GNP+ learns of the untimely passing of Manuel da Quinta – a tireless champion of the rights of all people living with HIV and a strong ally of the global movement. In more than two decades at UNAIDS, and previously as a community activist, Manuel consistently strove to dismantle injustice while amplifying the voices of those most affected by it. His enormous energy, creativity and humour contributed immeasurably to a range of GNP+ initiatives, including the PLHIV Stigma Index, the LIVING partnership and our work around Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention.

Julian Hows (GNP+ 2010-2017 and now at HIV Justice Network) remembers: “Manuel understood, championed and fought for the rights of people living with HIV, the LGBTQ community and for humanity. Always approachable, always going the ‘extra’ mile and always smiling whatever the adversity. I join many others in his global family as we mourn his passing and remember the difference he made to the lives of all those he touched.”

Farewell to a dear comrade who will be hugely missed. We mourn, we remember and we celebrate Manuel’s life of service.

The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force welcomes the adoption today by the United Nations General Assembly of the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.

Four decades after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first known cases of HIV/AIDS in its historic report of June 5 1981, the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS represents a transformational moment in the global AIDS response. Communities and civil society voices calling to get back on track to end AIDS by 2030 through supporting a fully funded, human rights- and evidence-based response have been heard by the global community.

We affirm the progress represented by the Political Declaration, even as we are disappointed by some critical omissions and weaknesses. We pledge our action and vigilance to ensure that these are addressed as the work of moving towards an AIDS-free world continues.

Unsurprisingly, the process leading to this week’s High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS and the new Political Declaration has exposed once again the conflicting views of UN member states on equality, human rights and the inclusion of key populations – sex workers, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, and people in prison and other closed settings – along with women and girls, and youth. It has also exposed conflicts over intellectual property barriers to lifesaving medicines. 

At this High-Level Meeting, however, for the first time in UN history, such a resolution was adopted by voting, at the request of the Russian Federation, which broke the consensus on issues related to human rights, harm reduction and law reform. Of all the votes cast, 165 member states voted for and four against, i.e. the Russian Federation, Belarus, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In so doing, they have deliberately undermined the global consensus on the approach needed to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.  

Reaching consensus was a painful process which will cost lives as humane and scientifically proven interventions regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), comprehensive sexuality education, harm reduction, sexual orientation and gender identity, community leadership, decriminalisation and repealing punitive laws, as well as TRIPS waivers to make essential medical technologies and innovations more equitable available, were aggressively opposed by some member states. Most of these crucial areas were either diluted to a point where commitments become toothless, or completely removed from the text during negotiations over the Political Declaration.

No fewer than 73 concessions were made to Russia during negotiations to build a consensus document. Russia’s refusal to accept the painstakingly negotiated consensus and its decision today to force a vote on the Political Declaration represents an attempt to undermine the outcome of the High-Level Meeting on AIDS and an evidence- and rights-based global AIDS response.

Nevertheless, there is much to welcome in the Political Declaration. We are glad that key populations are at least named within it, despite the opposition of some member states that led to watered-down wording allowing countries to define which populations are at the centre of their response. Key populations have been at the heart of community-led responses to HIV for 40 years. Their continued leadership, along with the leadership of other vulnerable populations  women, adolescents and young people, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities  is essential and deserves greater recognition. We are concerned that by invoking national legislation, the Political Declaration may enable member states to ignore relevant global and national data when defining key and vulnerable populations for their own countries, and it gives them too much leeway to avoid reforming punitive legislation that holds back an effective HIV response.

Despite these losses and other limitations related to national sovereignty clauses, the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted today by UN member states broadly aligns with the priorities of the new Global AIDS Strategy and highlights the urgent need to address the structural barriers of discrimination, gender inequality, criminalisation, underfunding and exclusion of people living with HIV, key populations and other priority populations vulnerable to HIV, including migrants and people in conflict zones and humanitarian settings.

For the first time ever, transformative and measurable targets on programmes that can make the end of AIDS a reality are part of the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS adopted by the UN General Assembly.

One of the most important wins is the inclusion of the 10-10-10 targets on societal enablers, calling for member states to end all inequalities faced by people living with HIV, key and other priority populations by 2025, by reducing to 10% or less the proportion of:

  • women, girls, people living with, at risk of and affected by HIV who experience gender-based inequalities and sexual and gender-based violence;
  • countries with restrictive legal and policy frameworks that lead to the denial or limitation of access to services;
  • people experiencing stigma and discrimination.

Equally critical is the commitment to support community leadership and ensure that an increased proportion of HIV services are community-led, particularly testing and treatment services, key population HIV prevention programmes, and programmes to support the achievement of societal enablers.

Another transformative win is the prioritisation of combination HIV prevention interventions that meet the diverse needs of key and priority populations, including condom promotion and distribution, pre-exposure prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary male medical circumcision, harm reduction, sexual and reproductive health-care services, and enabling legal and policy environments.

Particularly welcome also are the commitments to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV and end pediatric AIDS by 2025, as well as to the 95-95-95 targets for testing: 95% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status; 95% of people who know their status on treatment; and 95% of people on treatment having a suppressed viral load.

Because none of these commitments means much without financing, the Multi-Stakeholder Task Force welcomes the commitment to fully fund the AIDS response, notably by enhancing global solidarity to meet the target of 0.7% of gross national income as development aid, and increasing annual HIV investments in low- and middle-income countries to US$29 billion by 2025.

We commend H.E. Mr. Mitchell Fifield, Permanent Representative of Australia, and H.E. Mr. Neville Gertze, Permanent Representative of Namibia, for their work as co-facilitators of the High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2021.

Governments, donors, technical partners, the private sector and communities and civil society must now align efforts – and translate global commitments into local action. We must focus our work on the transformative elements of the Global AIDS Strategy endorsed by UN member states: strong political leadership, adequate funding, including for community-led responses, human rights-based and multisectoral approaches, and the use of scientific evidence to guide HIV responses and strategies.

These efforts will include work on issues that the Political Declaration does not address adequately, or at all – because it is on these issues too that the HIV response will stand or fall. Community-led responses – by key populations, women, adolescents and young people, and all other vulnerable communities – will continue to be at the heart of the struggle to end AIDS by 2030. We will argue for the reform of laws that criminalize and punish key populations. We will advocate for fully funded, community-led harm reduction programmes. We will push for the rights and needs of Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and migrants to be properly addressed. We will advocate for comprehensive sexuality education that enables adolescents and young people to live fulfilling lives, and sexual and reproductive health services for them and for adults. We will campaign for the proper recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity. And we will push for TRIPS flexibilities that will make medicines and technologies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease available, accessible and affordable to all.

The annual review of progress in delivering on the Political Declaration – and the 2026 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS itself  are important mechanisms for communities, civil society and parliaments to hold our governments to account. We must keep track of progress on the 2025 targets and the other commitments made in the new Political Declaration, and course-correct rapidly when gaps or challenges emerge.

The stakes are high: in four decades, the epidemic has cost the world over 75 million HIV infections and 32 million lives lost. The task of accountability is ours to realise! It is one we intend to fulfill, empowered by the resilience, experience, and expertise of the communities most directly affected by HIV, and knowing that the 2021 Political Declaration puts the world on the path towards the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

There is a crisis in the HIV response. Over the last five years, the world has failed to meet any of the targets for prevention, diagnosis and treatment set out in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, with progress on HIV prevention lagging particularly far behind. The 2021 high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS – and the Political Declaration that results from it – is the last chance to create sustained momentum for the policies, programmes and funding that are needed to end HIV as a global health threat by 2030.

Now more than ever, evidence-based responses and renewed political will are called for –especially in face of the additional burdens imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to focus efforts and resources where they are most needed, we call for a Political Declaration that:

RECOGNIZES explicitly who is most at risk of HIV ACKNOWLEDGES why this is so
COMMITS to fully fund and support effective responses HOLDS ACCOUNTABLE Member States for their actions

Together we can END INEQUALITIES, END AIDS if we ACT NOW!

The UN General Assembly 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM2021AIDS) is here! In the coming week, starting 7 June, there will be many events addressing the needs for community leadership and human rights- and evidence-based combination prevention, treatment and care. This page will inform you how to get involved and join the civil society #WeAreHLM movement. 

800+ civil society organisations and leaders endorsed the CS Declaration Statement

More than 800 civil society organisations and leaders endorsed the Civil Society Declaration for the United Nations General Assembly 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. Together we can END INEQUALITIES, END AIDS if we ACT NOW!

Join the #WeAreHLM movement on social media 

Become part of a global civil society movement that advocates for sound and united global leadership that is fully committed to addressing the HIV epidemic as well as other existing and new epidemics in a way that brings the world together and ends inequalities. Access the social media toolkit with content that you can easily share on your social channels during the High-Level Meeting, and join the movement by using the hashtags #WeAreHLM and #PressureOn. 

Attend events 

Register for HLM2021 for free before signing up for any events below

Monday 7 June

Tuesday 8 June 

Wednesday 9 June

Thursday 10 June

Friday 11 June

Statement by GNP+ on the occasion of the 74th World Health Assembly – Agenda item 26.4, Global health sector strategies on, respectively, HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections.

GNP+ welcome the proposed decision by the EB to the WHA to request the DG to develop a new global health sector strategy on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections for the period 2022-2030.

We welcome the emphasis on HIV self-testing, elimination of vertical transmission, and cervical cancer.  We appreciate the focus on concrete plans and results for Hep B, C and TB and we look forward to further strengthening this integration across health systems.

However, there is an urgent need to address the structural and intersectional barriers of discrimination, gender inequality, criminalization, underfunding and exclusion of key populations[1] and other affected populations[2].

We further want to stress the urgent need to engage civil society and communities more meaningfully. We have seen key population communities supporting health facilities in outreach and adherence, but key populations & communities need to participate structurally in critical decision-making that impacts their lives.

We are ready to engage in the strategy development process; the recent experience of GAS development can be used as a blueprint towards inclusive, organized, and effective community engagement. 

Civil society and communities also need to be involved in consultations and the preparation phase of guidelines development, such as research of demand and needs, ethics, and data collection. This will help efficient and sustainable decision-making and will positively impact achieving results and accountability.  

Member states must prioritize and invest in what science proved to work to end AIDS and to challenge the structural barriers of criminalization and exclusion of key and vulnerable populations. It is vital that the new WHO global health sector strategy on HIV, hepatitis and STIs will be aligned to the commitments and targets of the new 2021 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, the GAS, and the new Global Fund strategy beyond 2022 to ensure that international and domestic investments are directed towards the critical gaps. 

We call upon member states to address the priorities of the civil society declaration for the 2021 HLM on HIV/AIDS in the development process of the global health sector strategy on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections 2022-2030 and sign the Civil Society Declaration for the 2021 HLM on HIV/AIDS.


[1] gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender people, people in prisons and other closed settings; and all people living with HIV

[2] women and adolescent girls and their male partners, young people, persons with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities, indigenous peoples, people living in poverty, migrants, refugees and people in humanitarian emergencies and conflict and post-conflict situations

Multi-Stakeholder Task Force for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS Issued on 10 May 2021.

The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force commends H.E. Mr. Mitchell Fifield, Permanent Representative of Australia and H.E. Mr. Neville Gertze, Permanent Representative of Namibia, the co-facilitators of the High-Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2021, on their zero draft 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.

The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force particularly welcomes the fact that the zero draft not only recognizes explicitly who is most at risk of HIV, but also acknowledges why this is so. We equally salute the commitment to fully fund effective, human rights- and evidence-based responses, as demanded by the Civil Society Declaration for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS.

Communities and civil society, as actors in the global AIDS response, have for decades called for human rights- and evidence-based combination prevention, treatment and care. Such programme could have made the end of AIDS a reality by now. It is past time to take them to scale globally.

It is therefore encouraging that the zero draft follows the priorities of the Global AIDS Strategy and highlights the urgent need to address the structural barriers of discrimination, gender inequality, criminalization, underfunding and exclusion of people living with HIV and people most at risk of HIV, namely:

  • key populations, who are at greatly elevated risk of HIV infection in all regions and epidemic settings, i.e., sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, and people in prisons and other closed settings;
  • other populations who may be at elevated risk of HIV, depending on national epidemiological and social contexts, including women and adolescent girls and their male partners, young people, persons with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities, indigenous peoples, people living in poverty, migrants, refugees and people in humanitarian emergencies and conflict and post-conflict situations.

For the first time ever, measurable targets on societal enablers are addressed in a draft Political Declaration. We welcome the recognition of the importance of gender equality, including services for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and comprehensive sexuality education. We are pleased to see the acknowledgement of the need for legislation, policies and practices that prevent violence against key populations and people living with HIV and protect their rights to the highest available standard of health and education and an adequate standard of living. And we welcome the recognition that punitive and discriminatory laws, policies and practices that block effective responses to HIV must be removed, including laws that criminalize drug use and possession, sex work, sexual orientation or gender identity. For the next decade of AIDS response to make a tangible difference in people’s lives, it is vital that the 10-10-10 targets on societal enablers be confirmed in the final declaration, namely:

  • To reduce to no more than 10% the number of women, girls, people living with HIV and key populations who experience gender-based inequalities and gender-based violence by 2025;
  • To ensure that less than 10% of people living with HIV (including those with disabilities) and key populations experience stigma and discrimination by 2025;
  • To ensure that less than 10% of countries have punitive legal and policy environments that lead to the denial or limitation of access to services by 2025.

It is equally important that the 2021 Political Declaration retain its emphasis on community leadership, and the commitment for an increased proportion of HIV services to be delivered by organizations led by communities, key populations, women, and adolescents and youth, including the delivery by peer-led organizations of:

  • 30% of testing and treatment services, with a focus on HIV testing, linkage to treatment, adherence and retention support, and treatment literacy;
  • 80% of services for key population HIV prevention programmes, including for women within key populations;
  • 60% of programmes to support the achievement of societal enablers.

We welcome the recognition in the zero draft that community-led approaches have been essential in providing needed services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that COVID-19 underlines the importance of increasing investments for HIV and other disease responses. We fervently hope that the commitment to close the HIV response resource gap will finally be achieved for the first time, and we urge a strong commitment to increase annual HIV investments in low- and middle-income countries to US$29 billion by 2025. We will especially seek to protect the commitment to expand the investment in societal enablers in low- and middle-income countries—including human-rights protections, reduction of stigma and discrimination, and law reform—to US$3.1 billion by 2025.

Finally, to transform political commitments into evidence- and human rights-based actions and investments, the 2021 Political Declaration must include stronger accountability commitments and mechanisms. The declaration must include a commitment to establish a mechanism to regularly track and review progress across all targets, as well as to ensure that US$29 billion is actually mobilized, allocated and invested annually in HIV/AIDS responses by 2025 globally, and to course-correct promptly if resource gaps emerge.

While the zero draft of the 2021 Political Declaration promises to break through the structural barriers that keep the potential to end AIDS by 2030 at bay, we will remain vigilant as Member States negotiate the final text in the run-up to the High-Level Meeting.

The stakes are high, and we—as communities and civil society—will align our efforts around what is essential for all of us to advance in the Political Declaration, to guide the world towards the goal of ending AIDS.

Join our #LoveAlliance campaign in May 2021

The Love Alliance is based on the premise that to end AIDS, the groups most affected by the epidemic need to be at the centre of the response. We build on existing evidence on the effectiveness of rights-based responses that focus on and meaningfully engage LGBTQI people, sex workers, people who use drugs, with specific attention for people living with HIV, women and young people within these communities.

As Love Alliance advances its agenda of love for all, it seeks to highlight the challenges that the key populations it supports are faced with and provide ways for these affected communities to reach out and get the support they need. In addition, the organisation is inviting all champions of human rights and advocates of harm reduction to join us as we highlight the issues faced by our growing global community. 

How to participate #LoveAlliance 

11 May General

Join us on this journey working towards health and human rights for all. Use this social media toolkit (download here) to help us amplify and broadcast our aims and messaging in the coming weeks. We created ready-made social posts and media assets for each key population, allowing you to join this movement easily. Feel free to share the messages across social media and elsewhere to raise awareness and change the world for the better, together. 

Use the below hashtags to amplify your voice and join the campaign on social media. 

General for all posts
#LoveAlliance

Specific for each key population
#WeLovePeopleLivingWithHIV
#WeLoveSexWorkers
#WeLoveRightsForUsers
#WeLoveLGBTQI

GNP+ 

Aidsfonds 

ISDAO – Initiative Sankofa d’Afrique de l’Ouest

Sisonke

GALZ

International Network of People who Use Drugs

UHAI EASHRI

Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE)

The Multi-Stakeholder Task Force for the 2021 High-Level Meeting on AIDS is thrilled to be launching the HLM 2021 Civil Society Declaration.

There is a crisis in the HIV response. Over the last five years, the world has failed to meet any of the targets for prevention, diagnosis and treatment set out in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, with progress on HIV prevention lagging particularly far behind. The 2021 high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS – and the Political Declaration that results from it – is the last chance to create sustained momentum for the policies, programmes and funding that are needed to end HIV as a global health threat by 2030. 

Now more than ever, evidence-based responses and renewed political will are called for –especially in face of the additional burdens imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to focus efforts and resources where they are most needed, we call for a Political Declaration that: 

  • RECOGNIZES explicitly who is most at risk of HIV 
  • ACKNOWLEDGES why this is so 
  • COMMITS to fully fund and support effective responses 
  • HOLDS ACCOUNTABLE Member States for their actions

As a team we are proud of the hard work that we have done collectively to make this document a reality. We want to commend the Multi Stakeholder Task Force and its Advisory Group for their efforts to bring the voices of our diverse communities to the table despite the limited time. The Civil Society Declaration builds on the UNAIDS regional consultations, over 700 survey respondents and input from the Multi Stakeholder Hearing Civil Society Debrief.

We realize that it is impossible to craft a declaration that includes everything that everyone in our diverse HIV movement would wish for, but we hope you will find that many elements of the HLM 2021 Civil Society Declaration are aligned with your organizational priorities and that your community can take it and run with it.

Download declaration

We are asking organizations, networks and institutions to endorse the declaration. The more support the declaration receives the stronger it becomes as a tool to support advocacy with country delegations and missions leading up to the High-Level Meeting and the adoption of the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.

The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), Aidsfonds, and our partners invite you to take part in our three-part series to engage advocates and civil society members in preparation for and post the United Nations General Assembly 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. The webinars will be hosted on ZOOM and streamed live on the GNP+ Facebook page in Arabic, English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

The three-part series will systematically and continually engage advocates and civil society members following the process in a structured and predictable manner. The goal is to build civil society momentum and give people key moments to be engaged and updated by the HLM team. The first session will introduce advocates to the HLM and share the basics on how they can engage. The second session will support the preparation of advocates by sharing some of the key advocacy battlegrounds and how they can fine tune their advocacy strategies leading up the HLM. The third session will be a report back of the HLM and share the final outcomes of the process, including an analysis of gains and losses in language.

BELOW ARE THE DATES AND TIMES OF THE WEBINAR SERIES, REGISTER FOR A WEBINAR IN YOUR LANGUAGE OF CHOICE:

WEBINAR SERIES PART 3: HLM 2021 Outcomes: Gains, losses and how to prepare for country level advocacy

In the final of our HLM series, we will report back an overview of the HLM as well as an analysis of the political declaration and the potential gains and losses in language, which could potentially advance or set back the HIV response globally. The session will also share areas where advocates can focus on to enhance future national and global advocacy. 

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Webinar series 1

WEBINAR SERIES PART 2: HLM 2021 Advocacy: Preparing for action

During this webinar, advocates working directly on the outcome document will share areas to concentrate their advocacy leading up to and during the HLM. Participants will discuss terminology and key phases that opposition uses to mask discriminatory text, and effective arguments to counteract. 

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Thursday, 20 May 2021

3

WEBINAR SERIES PART 1: HLM 2021 Basics: Engagement and advocacy opportunities

This webinar will answer questions that advocates may have about the UN High Level Meeting on HIV, key dates for advocacy, and some of the different ways that civil society can engage in the process. 

Wednesday, April 21st 2021

Thursday, April 22nd 2021

Webinar series 1

UNAIDS has established an Advisory Group to support the Multi-stakeholder Task Force that will be facilitating civil society involvement in the upcoming UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. The group consists of individuals working, among others, in the areas of paediatrics and HIV, UHC, human rights, gender equality, academia, youth leadership, and more.

The high-level meeting will take place on 8-11 June 2021. The meeting will lead to a clear and action-oriented political declaration will be agreed upon by member states to advance towards achieving the commitment of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 

List of advisory group members:

Anton Basenko, The Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine – basenko@aph.org.ua

Rita Wahab, MENA-ROSA, Lebanon – menarosa696@gmail.com

Cedric Ninanhazwe, Y+, Netherlands – harunaaaronsunday@gmail.com 

Justin Koonin, UHC Civil Society Engagement Mechanism, Australia – president@acon.org.au

Javier Hourcade, Latin America HIV/AIDS Alliance, Argentina – javier.bellocq@gmail.com

Catherine Conner, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, US – cconnor@pedaids.org

Catherine Nyambura, ATHENA Network, Kenya – cathynyamb@gmail.com

Ferenc Bagyinszky, AIDS Action Europe, Germany – ferenc.bagyinszky@dah.aidshilfe.de

Fionnuala Murphy, Frontline AIDS, UK – fmurphy@frontlineaids.org

Trevor Straton, International Indigenous Working Groups on HIV/AIDS, Canada – trevors@caan.ca

REV’D FR Johannes Mokgethi-Heath (JP), UNAIDS Human Rights Reference Group/Act Church, Sweden – jp.mokgethi-heath@svenskakyrkan.se

On 23 February, the General Assembly adopted resolution 75/260 on the organisation of the 2021 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS (HLM). The resolution calls for the HLM to be held on 8-10 June 2021 and invites Member States to participate. To promote meaningful contribution of civil society in the entire process, UNAIDS decided to contract a civil society or community-led organisation with recognised experience in the global AIDS response. Last week, GNP+ and Aidsfonds were selected as the NGO co-coveners to collaborate with UNAIDS on bringing CSO’s and communities together in the entire HLM process.

About HLM2021 

The goal of the HLM is to develop a clear and action-oriented political declaration to be agreed upon by member states towards achieving the commitment of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. 

The 75/260 resolution on the organisation of the HLM requests the President of the General Assembly (PGA) to organise and lead an interactive multi-stakeholder hearing (MSH) with the participation of communities and other stakeholders, taking place no later than April 2021. The PGA will also envisage other civil society participation opportunities during the preparation process and the HLM itself. The interactive MSH will be held on 23 April 2021. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSH will be held in virtual mode, while the HLM Is likely to take a hybrid form.

Communities and CSO’s participation in the HLM 

UNAIDS has convened a Multistakeholder Task Force (MSTF) comprising of 16 members who are representatives from civil society and the private sector to facilitate civil society involvement in the upcoming HLM. The MSTF will advise UNAIDS, as the lead substantive UN entity, and through it, the Office of the President of the General Assembly, regarding the format, theme and programme of the multi-stakeholder hearing (MSH), as well as help identify speakers for the MSH and HLM plenary and panel discussions. 

UNAIDS has also established an Advisory Group to support the Multistakeholder Task Force. Members who served in the 2016 Task Force and experts with previous experience in HLM and other UN processes were invited to participate in the Advisory Group contributing in their personal capacities.

The GNP+ and Aidsfonds as co-conveners of the Multistakeholder Task Force (MSTF), will organise a series of events in the coming weeks to facilitate inclusive and interactive participation of civil society in the HLM process:

  1. Regional update webinars to brief civil society and communities on the progress made so far in terms of the work of the MSTF and the planning for the MSH and the HLM.
  2. Community participation survey to gather civil society input for the development of a common civil society ‘vision document’ for the HLM. 
  3. Community advocacy guide to be finalised and shared on this website to support country- regional- and global civil society engagement and participation
  4. Community consultation webinars to create awareness and promote wider participation

For more information see our dedicated webpage.

The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) welcomes the adoption of the Global AIDS strategy 2021 – 2026 by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) and commits to working together with all global health actors to achieve the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

GNP+ applauds the outstanding consultative work done by UNAIDS and all stakeholders in developing this strategy. Our network members have participated at many points in the process and we feel heard in the new strategy. The greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV is central to improving the quality of our lives, and we are pleased to see our voices and advocacy efforts acknowledged.

Jacquelyne Alesi, Board Chair, GNP+, says “These are not easy times – many of our communities are dealing with the impact of multiple challenges of COVID-19, loss of jobs, hunger, humanitarian and environmental crisis. Even as governments focus on these challenges, we must not allow them to back track on the progress made on HIV and TB. This past year has reminded us once again of the human cost of inaction”. 

The focus on having all our communities – key populations, children, young people, adolescent girls and women – as allies and partners is extremely important to us. And most of all we strongly endorse the focus on addressing inequalities in order to end AIDS. However, this will not be easy and will require the resources and bold action by governments, the UN system, communities working collaboratively.

We all know the right to health is inextricably linked to other human rights. People who experience stigma and discrimination because of any part of their identity – their race, their gender identity, their sexual orientation or if they do sex work or if they use drugs – cannot access treatment and prevention services precisely for reasons of discrimination on these grounds.

At GNP+ we strongly believe that the response to a 40-year old HIV epidemic needs to be guided by proven community-led, people centred approaches that dismantle the inequalities in our societies.

As global health leaders engage and work towards the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on AIDS in June, GNP+ calls for a stronger commitment from governments, donors and other stakeholders to invest in actions to back this strategy. We also call for a bold accountability framework so that communities of people living with HIV and key populations can monitor and evaluate the impact of this strategy on their lives. 

On Friday 19 March 2021, the Global Fund released a statement and a report by their OIG detailing misconduct – sexual exploitation and corruption – at NAP+ in Ghana during the implementation of their 2010-2019 grants.

As the Global Network of People living with HIV, we are dismayed at the findings of the report and condemn the sexual exploitation and abuse of women living with HIV. It is important that these corrupt and abusive practices have been uncovered and we stand by the women who courageously reported the abuse despite the threats and harassment. 

Since these incidents were first uncovered, NAP+ Ghana have undergone a governance overhaul and with support from the Ghana AIDS Commission, new leaders were elected in September 2020. 

The new women-led team are taking this issue very seriously and want to put in place actions to help ensure that such abuse and exploitation does not take place in the future. 

We know that organisations across all sectors, including community networks need to do more to end all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. GNP+ and the Network of African People living with HIV West Africa (NAP+WA) are supporting NAP+ Ghana in its efforts. We are also using this opportunity to strengthen our own networks and to contribute to addressing safeguarding issues within our community at large.

We are committed to ensuring a survivor-centred approach – ensuring that their safety, confidentiality and wellbeing is central in all prevention and protection measures against sexual exploitation and abuse. 

Community organisations must be better supported by global and national partners to put in place safeguarding measures that prevent abuse and keep people safe. As the HIV sector, we must all prioritise building a culture of accountability across our organisations and structures.

The winds of change are blowing through GNP+. We want to drive accountability and inclusivity within our organisation, and where better to start than our Executive Leadership. We are looking for a new Executive Director or Co-Directors to share the role and lead us on the next part of our journey. 

“Shared leadership is becoming more common in the not for profit sector it can encourage accountability, collaboration, evidence-based decision making and sustainability” explains Jordan Stevenson, the GNP+ Human Resources Manager. 

There is a buzz of excitement around the idea at GNP+, with several staff and board members involved in the recruitment process sharing their thoughts. 

Jacquelyne Alesi, the Chair of the GNP+ Board says, “when role-share was first suggested as an alternative model of leadership I had questions – will this be efficient, what about egos, will it cause confusion with external representation? However, having looked at the idea in more detail I now see co-leadership through a new lens of mutual accountability, flexibility, and support – all central to a feminist leadership model.” 

What does this mean for GNP+?

It means that we are open to new ways of working and supporting new leaders to emerge. “If the role is shared between two people this will be a first for GNP+, another innovation to add to our organisation’s rich history” adds Flavia Kyomukama, a GNP+ Board Member and a member of the recruitment committee.  

As with any leadership model, the reality of shared leadership could bring benefits and challenges with it, including how to share responsibilities. Saima Jiwan, a member of the recruitment committee says she can see how a job share could work, “If they mark out clearly defined roles, both Executive Directors should be accountable to each other as well as having a shared sense of accountability with the rest of the GNP+ team.”

Cedric Nininahazwe, another member of the recruitment committee has first-hand experience: “Co-Leadership isn’t actually brand new to me as Y+ Global has had co-chairs in the past and it worked well. You have to work out the practical details but these things don’t make or break a boat. My interactions were usually limited to one of the co-chairs, but this is one of the “ways of working” within a co-leadership model.”

As Flavia Kyomukama, Board Member and member of the recruitment committee says, “what matters most is that we end up with a leader, or leaders, that can strategically drive GNP+ to new heights.”

What this means for our sector

It is our responsibility as GNP+ to do all we can to be diverse and inclusive and to stay true to the GIPA principle – the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS – on which we are founded.  

Ours is a small sector and opportunities for community members to take on leadership roles are rare. We hope that opening up to the possibility of a role share creates more opportunities for the community. By making it possible for two individuals with talents that complement each other to apply, we are creating a bridge for regional and national community leaders to move up to global leadership. We want to enable community members who might otherwise not consider applying to take that step together with someone. 

“One of the most valuable lessons we have learned as a Board is that we work as a team and we are never alone when GNP+ is faced with challenges. I believe in being open to having a team of Co-Directors we are creating a similar structure of support for our leaders.” Jacquelyne Alesi, Chair of the GNP+ Board.

Sophie Smallwood, Co-founder of Roleshare has held senior positions in management and she echoes this sentiment, “It can be a lonely place. What we want to do is bring the spirit of a team to leadership level.”

Recruitment committee members share that they are looking forward to sustainability in leadership, with Cedric Nininahazwe quipping in to say “the end goal is a feminist model that ensures equity in leadership and responsibility.” 

What this means for applicants

The role is open to individual applicants and people interested in job sharing, we are simply looking for the best person, or people, for the job and are keen to spread the net widely. One reason, GNP+ is taking a flexible approach to the recruitment process is to expand the talent pool, as Jordan explains, “we want to see new people with fresh thoughts and new approaches. Leaders of national or regional organisations may be better supported to make the step up to manage an organisation with global reach using a shared leadership model.”

GNP+ has teamed up with an innovative company – Roleshare – to help out. Roleshare supports people to connect, combine skills, and apply for roles together.  Roleshare matches people and skills together for roles. Helping companies retain and include overlooked diverse clusters of talent for roles, while also enhancing wellbeing and cross-pollination of skills.

Dave Smallwood, Co-founder of Roleshare explains, “many organisations offer job sharing in theory, but GNP+ is serious about this, they are saying ‘hey, if you want this, we can make it happen’”. 

Applicants interested in job sharing are asked to visit the Roleshare website to apply. There they will need to create a profile outlining their experience and skills. They can either apply together with someone they know or apply as an individual and Roleshare can help match them to another candidate. This is why building your profile is so important, so you showcase your skills and help Roleshare to find someone who would work well with you; a bit like a dating website.  

So, spread the word, GNP+ is looking for leadership for the future and the clock is ticking. The deadline for applications is 16 April – all the details about how to apply can be found here.