Written submission by the Global Network of people living with HIV (GNP+)
An international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response should set standards that reduce inequality in and within countries.
The Global Network of people living with HIV (GNP+) 2020 survey, highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the community of people living with HIV. Based on the findings of this data, we strongly recommend the INB to consider the following evidence-based statements:
The continuity of HIV prevention and treatment services must remain a priority during the response to a new pandemic.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, some of the pandemic response strategies created barriers to accessing HIV treatment, holding back HIV treatment initiation in most countries (The Global Fund, 2021). The response to a new pandemic must not come at the cost of the lives of those affected by an existing pandemic like AIDS.
Address stigma and discrimination against vulnerable populations, & end inequalities.
The Pandemic Treaty must place particular emphasis on the protection and respect of the human rights and dignity of marginalised people. Recent experience has proven the increase of gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV over the course of the COVID-19 response mechanism. The international instrument must be grounded in human rights principles and guarantee the dignity of vulnerable populations.
The meaningful engagement of the community in the pandemic preparedness and response needs to be a principle, not a simple step in the process.
Building on the history of the HIV epidemic, the international instrument must set principles for meaningful engagement of communities in decision-making processes. We have lived it before, we can’t commit the same mistake, twice. Community needs to be at the centre as proved by UNAIDS (2020)