In lead up to the 10th ICAAP, the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (APA), Citizen News Service (CNS) and SEA-AIDS eForum team are hosting the topic 2 online consultation on key affected women and girls (1-20 August 2011).
The GUIDING QUESTION is: “What strategies would you priorities to address the needs and rights of key affected women and girls? In your response, please clarify who you consider key affected women and girls and what are the main challenges in ensuring a more enabling environment for these women and girls. Please share examples.”
Comment from Rathi Ramanathan (APNSW) & Jane Bruning (Positive Women Incorporated), UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegates (Asia Pacific)
BACKGROUND PAPER ON GENDER-SENSTIVITY OF AIDS RESPONSE
At the recent 28th PCB meeting, a background paper on gender-sensitivity of AIDS response, The UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls, calls for appropriate systems to be established to investigate and document violence and the link between HIV and different forms of violence against all women and girls, including key affected populations such as sex workers, women living with HIV, women who use drugs, young women and transgender women.
Stigma, discrimination and the criminalisation of key affected populations, including sex workers and women who use drugs, prevent women from reporting acts of violence against them and seeking assistance and redress. Furthermore, there is growing concern that anti-trafficking laws and policies put in place to protect people from violence and exploitation are being used by law enforcers to arrest sex workers or demolish sex work establishments, thereby increasing vulnerability (refer to UNAIDS/PCB (28)/11.5)
There remains a scarcity of financial support to substantively develop the leadership of women, particularly networks of women living with HIV and women in key affected populations and enabling them to take a leading role in efforts to change the HIV trajectory is key to reversing the HIV epidemic.
The UNAIDS Agenda for Women and Girls calls for women and girls, especially those living with HIV, key affected young women and transwomen, female sex workers and female drug users to be engaged in making decisions on developing, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating HIV policies and programmes. What they bring is the capacity and experience of how the HIV response can best meet their HIV and sexual and reproductive health needs and rights.
Our hope as delegates for the region is that a guidance note be developed to support UNAIDS recently developed investment framework so that gender-based violence and support for building leadership in communities particularly women living with HIV and key affected women, be developed in order to better arm community representatives on Country Coordinating Mechanism’s at the national level.