DRC-based Sex Worker Rights Group Wins 2014 Red Ribbon Award

The red ribbon is a global symbol in the movement to address AIDS. The Red Ribbon Award, presented every two years at the International AIDS Conference (IAC), is designed to honour and celebrate community based organisations for their outstanding initiatives that show leadership in reducing the spread and impact of AIDS. The award is a joint effort of the UNAIDS family and as such, this year it will place particular emphasis on the organization's newly approved global priority areas of action.

The award celebrates community leadershipand recognises that community-based organisations lie at the heart of the response to the AIDS epidemic – displaying extraordinary courage, resilience and strength in addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time. Using creative and sustainable ways to promote prevention and provide treatment, care, and support to people living with HIV and demonstrating innovation in the face of stigma and discrimination, the winners of the award are examples of community leadership showing us in practical terms how to reverse a global epidemic – one community at a time.

At this year’s IAC, NSWP member Action pour la Lutte contre l’Ignorance du SIDA (ALCIS) based in Democratic Republic of Congo won the award in the ‘Prevention of sexual transmission’ category. ALCISis a community-based organization founded in 1999 to prevent sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS among young people and men who have sex with men in the context of sex work. It is the only organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo to organize sex workers and MSM into solidarity committees which represent a collective and cooperative entity.

Some of ALCIS’s successes include;

  • Organising and consolidating sex workers and MSM in ten committees that develop strategies for facilitating peer education on sexual health and safety. They successfully provide space where sex workers and MSM can share their stories and experiences on violence.
  • Helping to develop the skills of sex workers and MSM to lobby and document violations of their human rights. Additionally, ALCIS has worked to enhance the social image of sex workers and MSM as a population engaged in the protection of the public health response to HIV. Through its approach to HIV, ALCIS has managed to put sex workers through the forefront of the national struggle; working for a "generation without AIDS in the DRC.”
  • ALCIS has helped to change gender discriminating laws and worked to integrate new policies that protect populations of sex workers and MSM.

NSWP congratulates ALCIS’s achievement.

You can download ALCIS’s press (French) release below.