3.0 Gender-sensitivity of AIDS responses
Intervention from the NGO Delegate for North America (pdf)
Firstly, we thank the Executive Director and the Minister from Djibouti for their comments in this morning showcasing the integral importance on gender equality in effective HIV responses. Also, we would like to thank the UNAIDS Gender Team for the development of gender sensitivity of the AIDS response report that responds to the decision point at the 27th PCB Board requiring a report back on the implementation of the UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls.
This candid assessment gives us a clear sign that we are failing women and girls in our HIV response and behind in our implementation of the Agenda. The report broadly highlights gaps in data collection, the involvement of women living with HIV decision-making processes and funding challenges. While this report is not intended to be a forward looking document, there are grave implications from the information yielded that we must have greater political will and funding from donors and national governments as well as stronger data collection and inclusion of civil society for the implementation of effective and sustainable gender sensitive responses on HIV that prioritize the health, rights and equality of girls and women.
I will now touch on several key points:
- We welcome the reports acknowledgment of the need for engagement of and leadership by women living with HIV in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the national HIV responses. However, this acknowledgement should go beyond rhetoric and tokenistic participation. As such, we are disappointed that there were not clearly articulated national mechanisms to consult with women and girls in the development of the report and ongoing monitoring of the agenda. Going forward, we greatly encourage adequate funding of networks of women living with HIV (WLWHIV), key effected women and women’s organizations supported by the technical support strategy and the forthcoming Civil Society Partnership Strategy to ensure that participation in the ongoing implementation and review of the UNIADS Agenda for Women and Girls
- We celebrate the report’s recognition of the need to link WLWHIV to sexual and reproductive health services, beyond the scope of services for the prevention of vertical transmission which generally do not address the needs and rights of women living with HIV in their full diversity and throughout their lifecycle. I know this first hand as a woman living with HIV facing extenuating challenges of stigma and discrimination when trying to access sexual and reproductive health services. Thus, it is imperative that those linkages to SRHR for WLWHIV are detailed in the business case and directly link to funding in the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF).
- Again we are grateful that the reports gives a candid account of significant data gaps around gender desegregation, violence against women, and resources budgeted or allocated for interventions targeting women and girls within the national responses. This reiterated the crucial need for strengthened systems of data collection, inclusive of civil society, to inform adequately and resource gender-responsive and gender-sensitive national AIDS strategies, within gender ministries and across multi-sectored programs at the country level.
- Additionally, the report indicated that more than half of the 81 countries reported that no data was available on resources budgeted or allocated for interventions targeting women and girls within national responses. This is a clear indication that we are we must redouble our work to dedicate resources the issues of women and girls, which we have all prioritized as well as building the capacities of governments and civil society to collect and use such data in all countries.
In order to fully implement the Agenda in country and make a life saving impact on the lives of countless key affected women, girls and women living with HIV (who like me have unlimited potential to contribute to world if kept healthy and afforded equal opportunity) then in the words if India, “The money must match the efforts”.
Thus, we support Michele Sidibe’s call for robust investment and political to generate transformation, gender equity and well implemented HIV responses. The NGO Delegation echoes his sentiments and implores donors along with national governments to fund the Agenda, fund the health of and equality of women and fund services that can extend my health and life.