The AIDS response is not just about an epidemic; the AIDS response is, has been, and must be, an instrument to fight for social justice. It requires us to confront and overcome the inequalities that wrongly separate people into “deserving” and “undeserving”.
The US immigration rules place restrictions on the ability of sex workers and people who use drugs to enter the country. These rules are but one example of the many ways in which national and international laws, regulations and policies are impacting on the HIV vulnerability of most at-risk groups across the world.
Integrated sexual and reproductive health services mean providing HIV prevention and testing, contraceptive care, and other services all under the same roof. With this simple and cost-effective solution, we could potentially save the lives of millions of women and children around the world.
We need to support the implementation of evidence-based health policy and effectively address the needs of communities infected and affected by HIV. We need to fully embrace the Washington DC declaration. Only then can we truly turn the tide together.
The U.S. law that prohibits sex workers and drug users from attending the IAC from abroad is a frightening sign of the times. As co-directors of two U.S-based sex workers rights organizations, we stand with sex workers in their global fight for rights.
For too many, accessing health care is a challenge. Integrating reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services–providing both services under one roof–makes it easier for women to get what they need.
Millennials represent the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS, and I fully believe that they will be the generation of leaders to finally and decisively turn the tide against this global pandemic.
We cannot respond correctly to HIV/AIDS without addressing the majority who make up the pandemic: women.
For the past 10 years I’ve been open about my HIV status and my drug use history. I can’t lie about these things anymore. I just don’t do that. Now, it’s quite possible that my honesty will cost me a US visa.
We will loudly advocate for the recognition of sex work as work, we will oppose the criminalization of sex work, and support the freedom of sex workers to self-organization and self-determination. In the absence of all these freedoms, HIV prevention policies, programs and efforts will remain ineffective.