Archive for July, 2013

by Kay Thi Win

The ATHENA network and ASAP have organized meeting at the Global Fund in Geneva: Strengthening Women’s Engagement with the Global Fund to Champion Gender Equality through the New Funding Model and Beyond. The meeting has organized 10th to 12th July 2013 and 23 community participants attended from:  Zimbabwe, Poland, Malawi, Indonesia, Lithuania, Kenya, Uganda, Ukraine, Canada, South Africa, Myanmar, Zambia, Argentina, Thailand, India, Jamaica, Netherlands, Malaysia, China and Swaziland.


The main objectives of the consultation were:

• To build the capacity of women’s rights advocates, especially women living with HIV, to engage at country, regional and global levels with the Global Fund and its New Funding Model (NFM) from a gender equality perspective.

• learn from experience to date and begin to strengthen the capacity of partners in NFM focal country Dialogue process, the development of concept notes, as well as in the implementation motoring and evaluation and revision of forthcoming Global Fund grants.

I have attended the meeting on behalf of sex worker community and share experience on the Global Fund NFM and country dialogue.  In March 2013,  I have attended Global Fund country dialogue on behalf of AMA (AIDS Myanmar Association) which is the national network of sex workers.

I have share experience and suggestion on gender base currently women are not representatives including my country. In future how, we can make sure that Global Fund NFM will work for gender equality. Also this is so much a challenge for us, a sex worker but we have to voice out our voices is strong.

During these days, we have small group discussion on gender gap, develop an action plan.  I recommended a pre-meeting for just community people in future and explain how it works for sex worker consultation with UN and that the GF should organize pre-meeting for consultations.

Finally we have work for  Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee (SIIC) Recommendations which you can read at the link below.

The main points covered were:

• Gender focal point on all CCMs

• Review the inclusion of “Women and girls” in the definition of key populations

• Enhancing documentation of the data, and identify research and data gaps

• Ensure gender equality is in the next Global Fund Strategy.

Also,  National and Regional Actions: build capacity of women through national and regional training on Gender Equality Strategy (GES) & Global Fund mechanisms.

• Bring women into country dialogues including sex workers.

SIIC Letter on Gender recommendations_16_July

I hope I did good job represent sex worker issues for the consultation.

I certainly try my best.

Kay Thi Win

Policy Officer


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Sex worker representatives from Asia Pacific region at the SWIT in Accra, Ghana, June 2013.

Sex worker representatives from Asia Pacific region at the SWIT in Accra, Ghana, June 2013.

by: Tracey Tully
Recently,  in June 2013, sixteen sex workers attended a consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Accra Ghana to develop an implementation tool to operationalise the guidance on Prevention and treatment of HIV and other STIs for sex workers in low- and middle-income countries.     The meeting was supported by the Gates Foundation and USAID and  of the 50 participants in attendance, one third were sex workers with extensive knowledge of sex worker HIV programming.  NSWP held a pre-meeting the day before the consultation started.  This enabled sex workers to critique each section of the draft,  compile a list of non negotiable points and to develop a strategy for how we would approach the two day consultation. This “sex worker only” session is critical to getting the most out of the consultation.  In fact, when NSWP or APNSW meet with UN on important consultations, we now insist on them funding a pre-meeting as a part of the overall process.
We found that most of our requests were considered reasonable and we managed to reach agreement on most things.  Sex workers went in with a clear vision to not vie from the Guidance, or what has affectionately come to be known as the ‘Pink Book’. We tried not to get bogged down in word-smithing, instead opting for driving forward the principles behind our participation in developing The Pink Book.  Two sex workers each engaged about a section and the feedback sessions from section consultations were presented by sex workers.    It still remains to be seen whether what was agreed at the consultation is accurately reflected in the final document.  We hope so and expect things to go as planned. It is important to retain the integrity of the process that has been demonstrated thus far.
SWIT consultation.  Sex workers co-presented.

SWIT consultation. Sex workers co-presented.

From the 30 June– 3 July 2013, the 7TH International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   In the leadup to the conference was a two day community forum held with stakeholders from across the HIV sector. Andrew Hunter chaired a session on Day 1 entitledIAS 2013 Community Forum invitation TasP Implementation Science Research Agenda- Concept noteThe meeting had attendees representing a diverse group of researchers, technical experts, policymakers and civil society representatives.  Day two was the more community focused session, so there were plenty of people in attendance from local groups. IAS 2013 Community Forum invitation with Dr Rachel Baggaley of WHO on the experience of SWIT process and spoke briefly about the implications for sex worker organisations on the ground, of the PEPFAR pledge being struck down by the US Supreme Court.  In the short term it will depend on US-based INGOs currently working with sex worker in low to middle income countries developing a policy that aspires to be sex worker led.  We hope to see a gradual shift of power away from top-heavy programming models to models that recognise the intrinsic value of sex worker self determination.   We will continue to lobby for International NGOs to be able to access PEPFAR funding and would ask USAID to consider the ethical implications of funding programmes that violate the free speech rights of anybody, anywhere.  Shiba from APN+ presented on the threat TPP poses to generic medicines.
March against TPP which threatens access to affordable treatment

March against TPP which threatens access to affordable treatment

On the Day the main Conference conference began, Malaysian and regional HIV activists marched through the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and presented a memorandum to the President of the IAS seeking support to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that threaten access to life saving treatment.  By the end of that day, IAS released a statement in support of our request.  We even got coverage in the Washington Post.  The fight to keep generic medicines on the market is under threat due to TPP and the danger posed by this agreement threatens not only access to affordable medicines for all,  but our ability to end AIDS in Asia by 2015.

All in all, the this scientific conference was more community friendly than any held before. The session on Sex Work Research covered PrEP which is an issue worthy of input from sex workers. This was discussed extensively at the SWIT consultation in Ghana.     It is probably not worth spending vast sums of money to send people this conference, but it is important to have some representation from your community to contribute to discussions.   .

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