Greetings from Zimbabwe, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, December 1st 2015. We are here promoting our evidence and rights approaches to HIV at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Harare, where Pangaea’s Zimbabwe office is based.
Meet Amanda, one of the graduates of Pangaea’s SHAZ! Program, that provides life skills education and vocational training to teenage girls living with HIV in Zimbabwe. Just last year, Amanda finished her diploma in hotel management. She continues to advocate for young women’s voices being heard at global policy level. Today, Amanda met with PEPFAR delegation, including Ambassador Deborah Birx, about the DREAMS initiative. “Educating and engaging the community is a long term task,” she commented.
Pangaea has worked with local partners to expand SHAZ! into an educational, support and care hub based in the CitiMed hospital in Chitungwiza, recognizing that these are services many more girls with HIV are going to need for some years to come.
So, our message this World AIDS Day is simple: Perseverance. We have made significant progress in the last fifteen years, but there is a long way to go in the coming decades.
AIDS programs have become more efficient and effective: New prevention and treatment tools have become available. What we need now are long-term major financial commitments that are needed to deliver these tools and strategies. The same perseverance that drives people like Grace within their local communities is needed by all of our governments. We have to overcome the short-term political cycles where we compete with other health priorities for a “signature” program to define one party or politician’s legacy. There can be no question that we are in this for the long haul. Therefore the commitment to defeating HIV needs to find a genuine bipartisan, cross-party consensus.
Part of that consensus must be a renewed solidarity with people living with and affected by HIV around the world. That means access to the highest quality ARV regimens for treatment and prevention, no matter where you live. As Pangaea partner, Christine Stegling, ED of ITPC and new ED of the IA Alliance says, “ going back to the era of “making do with good enough’ drugs is simply not acceptable.”
As you reflect on World AIDS Day, we would like to join you in honoring those we have lost and being inspired by those we know living with HIV. We recommit to building a future without AIDS. It may take us some decades, but with perseverance, we will beat this virus.
Bravo to our colleagues in the WHO HIV Department! Pangaea strongly supports WHO's "Treat All" Recommendation that anyone infected with HIV should begin ARV treatment as soon after diagnosis as possible.
Now, the hard work begins making this a reality - and Pangaea will be at the forefront of efforts to promote the development of more effective and affordable treatments for all - including those in middle income countries.
Ben Plumley, CEO Pangaea Global AIDS
Project Inform has published a new informative treatment guide for patients who have been recently been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. As the options for treating hepatitis C (HCV) are increasing, so is the confusion. This is a good problem to have: with more treatment options come more opportunities for people with various HCV genotypes (GT), treatment history and varying levels of cirrhosis to get cured. For more information visit: http://www.projectinform.org/hepc/i-have-hepatitis-c-what-are-my-treatment-options/
Denmark has played an important role in the Global AIDS response. However, at the same time that the Danish government agreed to implement the SDGs, it announced that it has also prepared a finance act that proposes dramatic cuts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
We understand that this includes a planned yearly cut of 65 million DK to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2015 and 2016 (almost $20 million USD), despite the promises made by the Danish Prime Minister and Nordic heads of state during US President Obama’s 2013 visit to Stockholm and the pledge made at the Global Fund Replenishment meeting in 2013. The Global Fund is the mechanism through which more than 8 million people have accessed life-saving HIV medicine over the last decade. It provides preventative treatment so that women living with HIV can have HIV-negative babies, and it supports prevention and harm reduction services to underserved populations. Your government is putting these gains at risk and letting people down.
On top of this, the Danish Government proposes to end its contributions to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, end funding for the International Partnership for Microbicides and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative that advance scientific research in microbicides and AIDS vaccines, as well as decreasing its contributions to UNAIDS, and bilateral support to HIV/AIDS and health programs in high prevalence countries.
These cuts are in sharp contrast to what global leaders committed to in New York in September With ninety other international NGOs, we call on the Danish Government to deliver on the promises it has made to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and reverse the threatened cuts to the global AIDS response – and the Global Fund, in particular.
For more information and to read the Open Letter from Civil Society Organizations Around the World please visit the following link
Over 2 years blood, sweat and tears have brought us to this exciting day in Beijing where HIV and breast cancer movements have united to advocate for strengthened screening, treatment and support services in China.
The All China Women Federation launches today The Pink Alliance – a new Chinese public private initiative to scale up community-led breast cancer early detection, support and access to treatment. The Pink Alliance is the result of two years of program development and piloting by V-Med, the implementation agency of AIDS Care China and Pangaea, with funding and technical assistance from Susan G. Komen. Over a decade of expertise from China's HIV community mobilization has been the foundation of our strategy that mobilizes and empowers networks of breast cancer survivors to strengthen early detection and treatment through advocacy, peer support, linkage to health services and workplace-based education.
ACWF Vice President Zhen Yan said "Using ACWF's unrivaled network of national' women's affiliates, the Pink Alliance has already provided for over 6500 women to receive education awareness and information about access to early detection services in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou and Zhongshan."
Judy Salerno, CEO of Susan G. Komen, added, "Like ACWF, we believe that all women can live healthy and productive lives – free from the threat of breast cancer – when they can have ready access to breast cancer screening, and that the outcomes for women with breast cancer are improved significantly when they can have access to the best treatment, but also access to the support networks of other breast cancer survivors. "
V-Med Women’s Health Director, Tina Lyo said, “ As a woman who has benefited personally from early detection, I passionately believe that all women, regardless of where they live, must have access to regular breast cancer screening and supportive treatment services.
Thomas Cai, V-Med's CEO, Pangaea adviser and founder of ACC added, " Solidarity with HIV shows unquestionably that health services must be rooted in the communities they serve to be most effective and sustainable. Furthermore, both people living with HIV and breast cancer can face terrible stigma and discrimination which have to be faced directly."