How much closer did the 2008 International AIDS Conference bring us to realizing its theme, Universal Access Now?
Once again, Representative Barbara Lee (D- CA) was the sole member of the U.S. Congress to attend the International AIDS Conference. Rep. Lee understands the complicated obstacles that thwart effective HIV prevention, though not all of her recommendations are embraced.
HIV/AIDS is more than just an epidemic and HIV-positive people are much more than victims of the disease. They have desires, hopes and dreams that transcend social and ethnic barriers.
Sixty-seven countries have some sort of travel restriction for people living with HIV or AIDS. Among these, 13 countries do not allow HIV positive people to enter their countries. The United States is one of these countries.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke out forcefully at the International AIDS Conference on policy reforms including defunding abstinence-only programs, authorization of the REAL Act, support for clean needle exchange programs, and the creation of a domestic PEPFAR.
Since the 2006 Toronto International AIDS Conference, an increasing number of organizations have spoken out about the need to respect the reproductive rights of women living with HIV/AIDS. A topic that is often neglected – or avoided – has been enabling HIV-positive women to deal with unwanted pregnancies through emergency contraception and voluntary safe legal abortion.
At the IAC, President Clinton expressed support for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, the creation of a separate UN agency for gender-based violence prevention in the UN, and the importance of dealing with the social realities of HIV and AIDS. But he failed to mention the population that has the highest rate of new HIV infections–young people.
Young Mexican gay rights and AIDS activist Rodrigo Olin’s charge to his fellow Mexicans was a charge to all of us to hold our governments accountable to the promises they make toward achieving better outcomes in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.
SRH groups meeting with the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health raised many key issues, including unsafe abortion; homophobia by conservative and religious groups; and access of indigenous groups and young people to adequate health services.
Twenty-five percent of IDUs reside in Eastern Europe and largely account for the rise in TB and HIV in the countries of the former Soviet Union.