UNAIDS called a meeting at the Barcelona Aids Conference in July 2002 of program planners, researchers, field workers and activists to begin discussing its work on HIV care and prevention among sex workers and clients. For the NSWP this was an important opportunity to ensure that UNAIDS is aware of the NSWP's concerns about programs that sex workers see as ineffective and/or as contributing to the abuse of sex workers. The meeting was preceded by NSWP demonstrations that drew attention to the negative impact on sex workers' human rights of anti-trafficking and public health measures such as mandatory registration and examination of sex workers that are increasingly being promoted as effective approaches to HIV prevention.
100% Condom Use Policy (CUP) programmes that aim to reduce HIV among female sex workers are being implemented or planned in several countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. As a result of claims made about the role of 100% CUP in reducing national HIV epidemics, UNAIDS and other key agencies promote the programmes as a "best practice". The NSWP has a different view of the theory and practice of 100% CUP. Our view is based on ethical analysis and on real evidence from the field.
The Conference was held in La Habana, Cuba, from April 7 - 12, 2003. The first Latin-American conference happened in Rio de Janeiro on 2000. Cuba was chosen because of the low incidence of HIV (lowest in Latin America). Around 39 countries and more than 2000 participants attended the conference. Like always, there was a very low participation of sex workers.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Recent changes to HIV funding in the US (HR 1298)
The US Senate approved a new international HIV/AIDS funding bill for approximately $15 billion on Thursday May 15, 2003 (Senate Resolution HR 1298, United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003). The Senate Bill is almost identical to its predecessor in the US House of Representatives and passed through the Senate unusually quickly, preventing debate about the content of the initiative that will triple HIV funding from the US to projects worldwide.
On May 21, the US House gave the final congressional approval to a bill that provides funding for a five-year US$15bn plan to fight HIV/Aids around the world. The bill now proceeds to President Bush for his signature. It is expected that he will urge other states at the G8 meeting early next month to follow the US lead in committing significant funds to fighting HIV/AIDS.
Expert workgroup meeting for the development of a toolkit for HIV/AIDS prevention and care interventions in sex work settings
Geneva, December 8-9, 2003
Since the first half of 2003, Mrs. Manoela Moeller, from the Prevention Unit of WHO, has been contacting NSWP, asking for publications and other materials from sex workers´ organizations throughout the world. In October she contacted the co-coordinator, checking availability to a meeting in December. She also asked to nominate "a sex worker from Asia" (they still do it! When will they recognize that we are organized all over the world?!!). I told about the APNSW and nominated Tini, who is also the chair of the board of NSWP; WHO accepted the nomination. The meeting , named "expert workgroup meeting" was organized for 8 and 9 Dec. at WHO headquarters, in Geneva. Before that, a small meeting happened at the Alliance Headquarters in Brighton, where several inputs from Cheryl Overs and Alliance staff were considered.