Frontline AIDS to intensify support for marginalised people on the frontline of HIV

Towards a future free from AIDS, for everyone, everywhere

Kigali, December 3, 2019: Frontline AIDS will target support towards people on the frontline of the HIV epidemic as part of the partnership’s new plan to help secure a future free from AIDS for everyone everywhere. The plan, launched today at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), sets out the charity’s commitment to focusing resources and expertise towards the most marginalised people.

Following decades of progress, the HIV response has slowed and is now at a crossroads politically, financially and epidemiologically. UNAIDS reported that, in 2018, 770,000 people lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses and there were an estimated 1.7 million new HIV infections – significantly off the UNAIDS Fast Track targets to reduce HIV-related deaths and new HIV infections to below 500,000 by 2020.

Frontline AIDS and its partners will focus on working with the most marginalised people. More than half of new HIV infections in 2018 were among people from key populations – sex workers, people who use drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people and prisoners – and their partners, while adolescent girls and young women are also hard hit. The plan sets out ten critical actions that will form the backbone of the organisation’s work with these people between 2020 and 2025.

“There is a dangerous misconception that the AIDS crisis is almost over,” said Christine Stegling, Executive Director of Frontline AIDS. “Yet for many people – such as adolescent girls or men who have sex with men – that could not be further from the truth. We have seen incredible progress against HIV in recent decades but business as usual will not be enough – we need to be braver, more focused and more committed in our efforts to support marginalised people on the frontline of HIV.”

The Global Plan of Action sets out four key partnership promises that will guide Frontline AIDS’ work over the next five years. The organisation will:

  • Speak truth – galvanising action from governments and donors to secure greater investment in HIV, especially for prevention
  • Unlock barriers – advocating with communities to challenge social and gender norms that increase people’s vulnerability to HIV and working with communities to monitor and document human rights violations, quality of services, and barriers preventing access
  • Invest in solutions – tailoring innovative solutions to respond to the needs of the most marginalised people while generating evidence to show what works and can be replicated elsewhere
  • Build a sustainable future – providing technical assistance to ensure that donor funding achieves maximum impact and that civil society organisations are ready to be contracted by governments to deliver services

“Far too often, those on the margins of society are made to feel invisible and ignored,” said Warren Buckingham III, chair of the Frontline AIDS board. “Our targeted support will put marginalised people at the front and centre of our work. We will work with people who are denied their rights to healthcare, those who are unable to walk the streets safely and those who face persecution and criminalisation simply because of who they are.”

The plan’s ten actions include a focus on influencing governments and donors to increase access to HIV prevention, challenging harmful gender and social norms and the promotion of economic and educational opportunities to improve quality of life for people living with HIV.

The actions also seek greater investment in mental health services for people living with HIV, the convening of new community networks to document and respond to human rights violations and the development of a new generation of leaders and activists to drive the next stage of the epidemic response.

Some areas of work in the Global Plan of Action are already underway. For example, the READY programme is providing adolescents and young people with information about HIV and helping to cultivate new leaders for the HIV response.

Through the Rapid Response Fund, Frontline AIDS is helping community-based organisations in 33 countries to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people facing imminent threats in their communities. Through the Fund, short-term support is available for basic necessities such as food, shelter and medication for people in danger, as well as support to LGBT organisations to help keep their staff and premises safe and to fend off police harassment and criminal changes.

The plan was launched by Christine Stegling at ICASA during a Frontline AIDS-hosted panel event, alongside new UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, Dr Safiatou Thiam from National AIDS Council Senegal, Dr Madiarra Coulibaly Offia from Alliance Cote D’Ivoire (ANS-CI), Reverend Johannes Petrus Mokgethi-Heath from the International Department of the Church of Sweden, Gloria Niwanyaga from Uganda Network of Young People living with HIV & AIDS, Richard Lusimbo from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and Kali Lindsey from the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact Rob Kelly on 07421 829200 or rkelly@frontlineaids.org

About Frontline AIDS

Frontline AIDS wants a future free from AIDS for everyone, everywhere. Around the world, millions of people are denied HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care simply because of who they are and where they live.

As a result, almost 2 million were infected with HIV in 2017 and almost 1 million died of AIDS-related illness.

Together with partners on the frontline, we work to break down the social, political and legal barriers that marginalised people face, and innovate to create a future free from AIDS.

Please visit our website to learn more.

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Global Plan of Action