First I speak on behalf of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Between the two organizations we work in over 150 countries with more than 700 community based organisations. Many of our organizations are formed by and working with women and girls, including the most marginalised –women who inject drugs, sex workers, women living with HIV. We would like to thank UNDP and UNAIDS for their leadership on this issue. We are pleased to see that many initial concerns were addressed in the latest version – we particularly noted the inclusion in the current version on the need to strengthen linkages between HIV and SRH and the need for gender-transformative approaches to gender and HIV. These two aspects of the framework cannot be lost. It is the experience of our partners that gender norms share and limit the autonomy and capacity of all people, and it is the burden and responsibility of men as well as women to transform these to address the consequences for women and girls’s vulnerability to HIV. It is now time to move this process forward.
Second, I also want to talk as a Latin American women living with HIV who has been part and parcel of the positive women’s network – who saw the ups and downs of the movement and the many battles “won and lost” to ensure the voices of HIV positive women were heard in all decisions that affect our lives, I am pleased to see that many HIV positive women are part of this process and it is important to ensure this involvement continues. I want to recommend that the working group also include women who may not be “technical expert” but who can bring the life experience of injecting drugs or selling sex. Women from these groups also need to be included any working group.
Finally, I want to refer now to a phrase used by the women’s right movement in the early 90’s: act local, think global. We have done all our global thinking, the implementation of this framework is well overdue. There is a good number of HIV positive women from various path of life who are ready to work with UNAIDS and the co-sponsors to support the operationalization of this gender equality and HIV action framework. It is time now to ACT.