Tuesday 22 October 2013

AFAO Advocacy Hub: the Asia Pacific HIV response

L-R: Janelle Fawkes, Chris Connelly, Omar Syarif, and
Ele Morrison. 
Each day at the Australasian HIV/AIDS conference in Darwin, AFAO is hosting a Community and Advocacy Hub. Hub activities include a mini-film festival, panel discussions and open mic sessions.

Today at the AFAO Hub, there was a wide-ranging discussion from AIVL, APN+, AFAO and Scarlet Alliance about the need for longer term funding to sustain community based responses in Asia and the Pacific.

Omar Syarif from APN+ highlighted need to scale up access to treatment, address legal barriers, and trade agreements.

Ele Morrison from AIVL talked about need to support drug users to advocate for themselves.

Janelle Fawkes from Scarlet Alliance highlighted the need to fund over long term the development of viable sex worker organisations.

Chris Connelly from AFAO's international program, discussed how AFAO has supported the development of MSM and TG community based organisations, with Kapul Champions in PNG being the most recent successful example.

Rob Lake, AFAO Executive Director, commented that Australia has a great interest in ensuring that international trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, do not create barriers to accessing life saving treatments across the region.

More info about the Hub

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Blog Action Day: Human rights, HIV, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Blog Action Day is an annual day of action for bloggers around the world to post stories about an important social or environmental issue. This year the topic is human rights; an issue that is inextricably linked to HIV.

AFAO decided to participate in Blog Action Day for the first time by interviewing James Ward, an Indigenous health researcher with more than 15 years’ experience in sexual health and HIV. He is a descendent of the Pitjantjatjara and Nurrunga clans of central and South Australia.

The Office of theUnited Nations High Commissioner for human rights states that:
"Human rights are inextricably linked with the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals and communities around the world. A lack of respect for human rights fuels the spread and exacerbates the impact of the disease, while at the same time HIV/AIDS undermines progress in the realisation of human rights."
How would you say that this connection plays out for Indigenous people generally, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in particular?

It’s an important point linking human rights to HIV vulnerability and it’s often off the agenda.
Many Indigenous people struggle with basic human rights, including the lack of recognition in their own countries. Others have problems with recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights – basic human rights, including the right to be taught traditional language and practice customs and culture.

Monday 14 October 2013

Best practice: Community Advocacy Initiative in Laos (CAI)

CAI Phase I advocacy workshops with Lao
CBO partners
The work of Community Advocacy Initiative (CAI) in Lao has been featured in the recently released 'Global AIDS Response Progress Country Report, Lao PDR, 2012', as one of five best practice examples to illustrate contributions to the national HIV response.

CAI, a capacity building project of AFAO and APCASO (Asia Pacific Coalition of AIDS Service Organisations) was implemented in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Lao and Vietnam from 2009 - 2012.