by Ruth Morgan Thomas – NSWP
We welcome the explicit acknowledgement of the need for governments to ensure equitable access to HIV treatment for members of key populations who have, in reality, been excluded from HIV treatment programmes. To date, estimates to achieve equitable access for sex workers would require a 12 to 13 fold increase in access to treatment.
In order to realise equitable access, we need to address the structural barriers created by hostile legal and policy environments, including those created by criminal laws but also sometimes by public health legislation that requires mandatory registration, testing and treatment of sex workers and that prevent drug users from accessing both hepatitis and HIV treatment while the continue to use illicit drugs.
In addition, there is an urgent need for investment in community-led organizations and programming as the most effective way of addressing inequitable access and scaling up rights-based HIV testing and treatment for female, male and transgender sex workers and other key populations, namely gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and transgender people.
On the Technical Support aspect, we also urge the role of global and regional key population networks and community-led organizations to be recognized as experts and providers of technical assistance in ensuring that the needs of our communities are appropriately included in concept notes for the roll out of the Global Fund New Funding Model and that we are seen as critical partners in the provision of technical assistance.