Carol Bergman, Acting Executive Director of the Washington DC based Global AIDS Alliance, a NGO dedicated to eradicating HIV and global poverty, gave a briefing on the prospect for change in US HIV-related policy. Ms Bergman worked with leading US based organizations to advise the Obama Transition Team on changes that need to be made to enable the US to support evidence based comprehensive responses to HIV. Ms Bergman worked previously with the Clinton Transition Team.
The criminalisation of HIV is a growing phenomenon in the UK. Even though the numbers of successful prosecutions have been low, there have been hundreds of criminal proceedings against people with HIV which have had a devastating impact on their lives.
The roundtable brought together a small number of parliamentarians with senior representatives of pharmaceutical companies, NGO specialists and academics, to discuss the supply of HIV drugs in the developing world. It formed part of a larger enquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS on access to medicines, which will culminate in a report to Government.
This meeting, chaired by Vera Baird QC and Baroness Northover looked at the way gender affects a woman’s ability to protect herself from HIV. Three speakers looked at the issue from very different perspectives. The Revd. Kristiana Sutton Koroma spoke about the impressive Women Won’t Wait national campaign in Sierra Leone to tackle violence against women. The campaign called for, and achieved, specific legislation to protect women from different forms of violence and discrimination.
Fewer than four in ten employers would employ someone with any form of mental illness. 75% of employers say it would be ‘impossible’ to employ someone with schizophrenia. Less than 50% of people with HIV are in paid employment
This meeting provided an update on the state of AIDS, TB and Malaria in Latin America. It was co-hosted by a number of APPGs including: AIDS, TB, Malaria, South America and Central America. The speakers included:
- Dr Ernesto Jaramillo, Team Leader, Drug Resistant Team at the Tuberculosis, Drug Resistant and HIV Unit of the Stop TB Department
- Matias Gomez, Fund Portfolio Manager for Latin American Countries, Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria
- Lynette Lowndes Director of Field Programmes, International HIV/AIDS Alliance
This was a fascinating update on progress towards developing an HIV vaccine, the development of microbicides (which women could use to protect themselves against HIV), pre-exposure prophylaxis and the use of male circumcision for HIV prevention. It also considered the use of treatment as prevention, following new evidence that treatment dramatically lowers infectiousness. Professor Robin Shattock of St George's, University of London and the leading HIV prevention professor in the UK, was one of the three speakers.
This event brought together MPs in high prevalence areas, with a local constituent and a representative from their PCT. The aim was to inform the PCTs and MPs that BHIVA recommends that they increase testing in their areas; and to kick start the process of local lobbying to tackle undiagnosed HIV. The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, was the special guest at the event and called on PCTs to take action to increase testing. Neil Gerrard MP talked about his experience of using Local Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees to ensure PCTs take the issue seriously.
The speaker tour is always one of the highlights of the APPG calendar. Young people whose lives have been deeply affected by HIV travel from across the world to share their stories with other young people in the UK. As part of the tour which goes to University towns up and down the country, the team stop off in Parliament.
This event was hosted jointly by the APPG on AIDS and the APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health. Christine McCafferty MP, Chair of the latter APPG, gave a warm opening speech. Christine’s opening speech can be downloaded.
Each speaker brought a different perspective to women, HIV and Gender violence.
Professor Charlotte Watts,
The People Living with HIV Stigma Index
On the eve of World AIDS Day, Annie Lennox and the APPG partnered with the ‘People Living with HIV Stigma Index’ to launch a ground breaking report of HIV stigma in the UK.
At an event packed with people who could speak from personal experience of living with HIV, we heard stories about the impact of stigma on them today in the UK. The research team identified the major issues that came up in their research:
David Borrow MP, Chair of the APPG and International Development Minister Mike Foster MP met with young people from across London who had converged on the South Bank Royal Festival Hall to give their very own performance of ‘dance4life’ which is raising awareness of HIV and AIDS in developing countries.