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Rights Here, Right Now: CVC Coalition and AIDS 2010

Posted 22 June 2010, 12:57 P, by Conference Secretariat
By Vidyaratha Kissoon, CVC Media Volunteer, AIDS 2010. CVC is an AIDS 2010 Organizing Partner.

The Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) endorses the theme Rights Here, Right Now for AIDS 2010.

CVC is a coalition of community leaders and non-governmental agencies providing services directly to and on behalf of Caribbean populations who are especially vulnerable to HIV infection or often forgotten in access to treatment and healthcare programmes. These groups include:

  • men who have sex with men
  • sex workers
  • people who use drugs
  • orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV
  • migrant populations
  • ex-prisoners
  • youth in especially difficult circumstances.
Youth in Toco, Trinidad. Credit: UNAIDS/B. Press.

The membership is drawn from the Caribbean and includes people and organizations who work in Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Curaçao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the French Caribbean, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia,  St. Vincent, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

CVC's participation in AIDS 2010 is critical to the objective of generating an enabling environment to support human rights and improve the quality of life of vulnerable populations.

At the launch of CVC's Campaign to Vienna in October 2009, CVC Co-Chairperson Marcus Day encouraged members to participate in AIDS 2010, saying “The AIDS conference presents a brilliant opportunity for us to showcase the work that the Caribbean does in addressing the issues of vulnerable populations in a less than ideal political and social environment”.

The work being done in this “less than ideal political and social environment” is what CVC members would like to share with the world at AIDS 2010 through the main conference and participation in Caribbean Regional activities that will run concurrent with the conference.

CVC participated in developing the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS – 2008 to 2012 (pdf), which recognises six priority areas for action. These are:

  1. An enabling environment that fosters universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services
  2. An expanded and coordinated multisectoral response to the HIV epidemic
  3. Prevention of HIV transmission
  4. Treatment, care, and support
  5. Capacity development for HIV/AIDS services
  6. Monitoring, evaluation, and research

The AIDS 2010 theme Rights Here, Right Now brings the focus of the AIDS gathering to the human rights environment, which is necessary for the first priority action for the Caribbean and one in which there are still strides to be made.

CVC members are further concerned that there has been a shift away from rights-based programming for HIV/AIDS in the region.

CVC partner organisations have been conducting important advocacy work to emphasise human rights. In Guyana, the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has launched a constitutional challenge against the Cross Dressing laws.  SASOD, in collaboration with the Sexuality Rights Initiative, also made a submission to the 8th UPR (pdf), and the Government of Guyana is expected to respond on the measures it will take to ensure the rights of its LGBT citizens. In Jamaica, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays coordinated a Stand against Silence and a March for Tolerance, both events held with civil society organisations. The United Belize Advocacy Movement continues to highlight human rights violations and to press for redress when necessary.

CVC's priorities at AIDS 2010 are to highlight and advocate that:

  • adequate attention is paid to the needs of vulnerable communities in Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010
  • states of the English-speaking Caribbean repeal all legislation criminalizing relationships between same-sex consenting adults, which limit the free development of their personalities
  • Caribbean states introduce legislation to protect, guarantee and promote equality of individuals regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression
  • violence against sex workers, including migrant sex workers, is recognised as a form of gender-based violence because most of the sex workers who experience violence from the state and private individuals are women or male-to-female transgenders.

CVC Montego Bay Workshop, November 2009.

CVC members expect that at AIDS 2010 there will be greater Caribbean participation than at previous International AIDS Conferences, especially by those from vulnerable populations. The experience of networking through the Global Village is expected to be quite positive and CVC members also believe that encounters with donors and multilateral agencies will highlight the need for rights-based programming in the region. In addition, CVC members expect that AIDS 2010 delegates will agree that poverty-alleviation programmes and strategies are necessary to reduce the vulnerabilities of the communities represented in CVC.

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February 16, 2010
Study integrating family planning and HIV treatment & care funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Craig R. Cohen, MD, MPH

UCSF has received a $1.15 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to determine if integrating family planning into HIV treatment and care will increase contraceptive use and decrease unintended pregnancy among HIV-positive women.  UCSF will partner with the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health to conduct the research.

“Two-thirds of the world’s HIV-infected population lives in sub-Saharan Africa and 60 percent are estimated to be women.  Recent evidence suggests high rates of unintended pregnancy among HIV-infected women. Family planning is the cornerstone for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and can also reduce maternal mortality, but family planning services are not always accessible at many of the public health clinics providing HIV care and treatment,” said the study’s primary investigator, Craig R. Cohen, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF.

The research will be conducted at 18 HIV care and treatment clinics in Nyanza Province, Kenya.  With 15.3 percent of its population HIV-infected, Nyanza Province has the highest seroprevalence rate amongst provinces in Kenya.  These clinics are supported by the Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) Program, a collaboration between UCSF and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).  At 12 randomly selected clinics, HIV-infected clients will receive the intervention package of integrated family planning and HIV care.  At each of the six clinic control sites, HIV-infected clients will receive standard HIV care and a referral to a separate family planning clinic within the same facility for contraceptive services.

The study’s first objective is to improve family planning clinical and counseling skills of clinicians and community health workers at all the FACES-supported HIV care and treatment clinics.  A training curriculum on family planning counseling and method provision will be developed and implemented.

The second objective is to measure contraceptive use and unintended pregnancy along with interviews with female and male clients regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to family planning along with the acceptability of family planning services received.  In addition, clinic staff will be interviewed about the feasibility of increasing the integrated model of HIV care and family planning services provision.

“There is a large unmet need for family planning in Kenya—nearly 75 percent of HIV-infected women age 15-49 either do not want to have a child in the next two years or do not ever desire to do so.  With a significant overlap between women needing family planning services and women who are HIV-infected needing treatment and care, delivering both together could help alleviate some of the challenges we face with a shortage of skilled staff paralleled with a great many needs for health care services,” said the study’s site principal investigator, Elizabeth Anne Bukusi, MBChB, M.Med (ObGyn), MPH, PhD, co-director, Research Care Training Program and chief research officer, Center for Microbiology Research, KEMRI.

Daniel Grossman, MD, senior associate at Ibis Reproductive Health and associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF, and Sara Newmann, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF are co-principal investigators for the study.

FACES is affiliated with the AIDS Research Institute (ARI) at UCSF. UCSF ARI houses hundreds of scientists and dozens of programs throughout UCSF and affiliated labs and institutions, making ARI one of the largest AIDS research entities in the world.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to defining health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate level education in the life sciences and health professions and excellence in patient care.kindly involving community from KENYA .


7/7/2010 9:14:43 AM #

ICW-kenya chapter would Links go beyond sexual violence and increased vulnerability to infection. Economic abuse, physical violence (particularly by intimate partners) and psychological abuse lead to situations where women can’t control sex or access services. Child sexual abuse can lead to higher risk taking behavior in adulthood. Men who are abusive more likely to have more sex partners, STIs, alcoholism and to refuse to use condoms. Some studies show positive women are more likely to have experienced violence. Sex workers, transgendered women, women who inject drugs and lesbians are targets of violence from the state. WHO studies show in many regions young women have high levels of forced first sex - the earlier sex occurred the more likely it was to be forced. Suggestions for preventing violence include;

integrating action against violence into HIV program mes,

promoting gender equality particularly with men to make them take responsibility

finding male champions

quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education before sexual debut,

policy and law reform,

sensitization of health care providers,

encouraging domestic violence services to integrate HIV work

decriminalizing sex work.

But the evidence for these interventions is weak and few promising program mes have been taken to scale – more research is needed. Law and policy reform won’t work if it is not enforced or the enforcers are the perpetrators of violence. Placing the responsibility for combating violence in the hands of health care workers is problematic in settings where they are the perpetrators of abuse for example in the forced STI and HIV testing of sex workers or sterilization of women living with HIV. The session failed to address structural interventions to assist men who wish to assert a style of masculinity outside the norm or to make the links between conflict, militarism and violence against us on this number +254-0722767745


7/12/2010 10:55:18 AM #

AfriCASO - African Council of AIDS Service Organizations

Established in 1991, AfriCASO is a network of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Groups of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), and other African HIV/AIDS community groups. Its mission is to promote and facilitate the development of the community response to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the development of sustainable organizational structures for NGOs, CBOs and Groups of PLHIV.

9513, Sacre-Coeur 3 - Dakar, Senegal
P.O. Box: 28366 Dakar MedinaAfriCASO - African Council of AIDS Service Organizations

Established in 1991, AfriCASO is a network of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Groups of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), and other African HIV/AIDS community groups. Its mission is to promote and facilitate the development of the community response to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and the development of sustainable organizational structures for NGOs, CBOs and Groups of PLHIV.

9513, Sacre-Coeur 3 - Dakar, Senegal
P.O. Box: 28366 Dakar Medina

Rukia Kenya