You're receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to our newsletter.

Having trouble reading this? View it in your browser.

ICW Global In Action

June 2018

ICW Global Updates


Commentary: ICW Statement on Dolutegravir (DTG) for Women and Girls in the Reproductive Age


On May 18th 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement following the identification of a potential safety issue with Dolutegravir (DTG) related to neural tube defects such as lack of full development of the brain and spine in infants born to women who were taking DTG at the time of conception. DTG is also sold under the brand name Tivicay.[1]

According to the WHO statement [2] the safety issue was identified from a preliminary unscheduled analysis of an ongoing observational study in Botswana, Africa which found four cases of neural tube defected out of 426 women who became pregnant while taking DTG.

The WHO statement indicates that “the potential safety issue arises from a woman’s exposure to DTG at the time of conception, rather than during pregnancy.” ICW has learned that the same study has yielded no evidence of neural tube defects among infants born to women who initiated DTG-based regimens during pregnancy. It is important to note that data and information is very limited at this time.

The study in Botswana is ongoing, and results from additional pregnant women who were using DTG-based regimens at the time of conception are expected over the next 9 to 12 months.

Since Dolutegravir was approved by the US FDA in 2013, it has become popular for many as it is more easily tolerated, costs less, can lead to faster viral suppression and is less susceptible to resistance.

ICW continues to be in contact with the HIV department at WHO and would like to inform our members that we are keenly monitoring developments and working closely with WHO and various regional and global HIV treatment and prevention stakeholders to understand what this news means for women living with HIV, particularly those of reproductive age who are planning to or may become pregnant and are already taking DTG or interested in accessing DTG.

We urge our members to act on the advice by WHO and other key partners globally and at country level by doing the following; -

  • Women and girls who are currently taking Dolutegravir should not stop taking their medicine without first consulting their doctor or a health care provider.
  • Women and girls who are taking dolutegravir and can become pregnant should use an effective contraception.
  • Women who are taking Dolutegravir and wish to become pregnant should talk to their doctor or health care provider about whether Dolutegravir remains the most appropriate treatment.
  • Women who are pregnant and using Dolutegravir, should consult their doctor or health care provider immediately.
  • Do not discontinue dolutegravir without consulting your doctor to understand how to ensure continuity of your own life-saving treatment and prevent vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child.
  • Women who are currently taking dolutegravir MUST inform their doctor if they become pregnant, think they might be pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. Your doctor or health provider will review your treatment.
  • If you have any questions about your treatment or contraception, speak to your doctor or health provider before making any decisions.


ICW commits to keeping you updated on any new developments as they arise. For more information, we encourage our members to read the WHO fact sheet link here.

You can contact us at and we will link you up with further support or information.




Activity to Impact

ICW joins partners at the Global Compact to Eliminate all forms of Stigma and Discrimination Consultation meeting.

ICW joins partners and leadership of community organizations at the global convening around ending HIV-related stigma and discrimination to close the gap in ending. The Global Compact to Eliminate all forms of stigma and discrimination consultation meeting took place in Geneva on 29th and 30th June 2018.

ICW was represented in this meeting by our Advocacy and Communications Manager; Florence Anam.

The meeting was an opportunity for partners and stakeholders to identify how communities can meaningfully engage in the Global Compact and contribute towards ending HIV stigma and discrimination and develop a community engagement plan for the Global Compact engagement including next steps on dissemination, advocacy, and initial national consultations.

Picture sourced from GNP+ Website:


Women-activists from Tajikistan trained to protect their rights

The Tajikistan Network of Women Living with HIV and UN Women held a training for women activists on "Tools for protecting the rights of women living with HIV" on 11th-13th June 2018, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Natalia Sidorenko, from Russia, who represented the Eurasian Women's AIDS Network as a coordinator for the collection of analytical information stated that women still face major challenges in aspects such as disclosure, which act as a barrier to proper adherence, accessing and seeking medical services. She added that such challenges are also caused by the lack of confidentiality within facilities, which thus need to be enhanced to create a proper environment for Women living with HIV to attend their clinic comfortably and adhere to treatment. She also emphasized on the need for knowledge impacted on howto deal with violence. 

 Read more here

Picture C/O:


ICW-Community consultation on the role of peer support in the Retention of women, adolescents and children in HIV care and treatment


The International Community of women living with HIV is delighted to share a long awaited report on a community consultation on the role of peer support in the Retention of women, adolescents and children in HIV care and treatment. The forum, which was held in 16-17th, November 2017 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to strengthen the dialogue between governments and civil society in order to improve service utilisation, retention, adherence and quality of care for women, adolescents and children living with HIV.

The consultation, which was a co- convening between ICW, WHO and UNICEF, in partnership with regional and global stakeholders, brought together more than 75 participants from seven countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. These countries were selected in regard to their current community projects and grants, including INSPIRE and OHTA, to build on the existing experience in peer support with a goal of minimizing the number of patients not retained in their ART and PMTCT services. Each country delegation included representatives from Ministry of Health (MOH), networks of women and adolescents living with HIV, UNICEF and WHO country office focal points. Representatives from WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, CDC, and other partners from the global and regional level also participated in the consultation.

The key take away from the consultation includes an emphasis on accountability at all levels for effectiveness of community and peer led interventions, support of interventions that involve mentor mothers in PMTCT, an emphasis of the involvement of women and adolescents living with HIV in every decision regarding their sexual and reproductive health including HIV treatment and care.

Read more on the report here.



HIV-Related Diarrhea: Blog Entry

ICW, courtesy of Jeannie Wraight and Maria Mejia posted a log entry highlighting HIV-related Diarrhea, its effects on people living with HIV physically, eotionally and on their generald adherence to ART. This is a condition that is not often talked about, while at the same time 20% of people living with HIV in the US suffer from HIV-related diarrhea. Read the informative piece here

You can now send in blog posts to feature on our website! Send in your articles to Laura Thuo on


The Global Network of People living with HIV GNP+’s 2017 Annual Report: Leveraging the Power of Communities:

The Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN) the launch a people-centred TB Isolation policy, the report is available here:

The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) will host the People Living with HIV Networking Zone at the 22nd International AIDS Conference – Amsterdam 23-27 July 2018 Global Village

Women4GlobalFund statement to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26th, click on the link here to read the full statement.

Final Communities and Civil Society Communiqué on the draft multi-sectoral framework to accelerate progress to end Tuberculosis:é-on-the-draft-multi-sectoral-framework-to-accelerate-progress-to-end-Tuberculosis.pdf

ICW Statement on DTG Here:

WHO recommendation: Elective C-section should not be routinely recommended to women living with HIV,

New Survey. WHO guidelines for treatment of HIV:


Conferences, Workshops and Global Dates of Commemoration

13-14 JUL

African Regional Women Communities Meeting, 13-14th July | Kigali, Rwanda

22 JUL

22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018)

Amsterdam, Netherlands | 23-27 July 2018, RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre

1-7 AUG

Breastfeeding Week: August 1st- 7th


12 AUG

International Youth Day, August 12 

Image Courtesy of:

22-25 OCT

HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) Madrid, Spain, 22-25 October 2018: HIVR4P is a platform to advance information-sharing and experience-sharing among researchers working on HIV vaccines, microbicides, PrEP, treatment as prevention and other biomedical prevention approaches. Register now or submit a late-breaker abstract.

24-27 OCT

The 49th Union World Conference On Lung Health, 24-27 October 2018. The Hague, The Netherlands:

28-31 OCT

HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow, United Kingdom, 28-31 October 2018:

The programme of the HIV Drug Therapy congress is of interest to clinical investigators from across the globe to review current research and to discuss the implications for HIV management strategies. Register now or submit an abstract

12-15 NOV

The 2018 International Conference on Family Planning: The 5th ICFP will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from November 12 to 15, 2018

Call for Proposals, Grant Opportunities

Funding Opportunities:

Meet the Staff



Souhaila Bensaid



Title/Position in Region

ICW Mena/Mena Rosa


Mena Region (North Africa and Middle East)

Who I Am

Souhaila was an active militant from 2007, where she was at first a volunteer activist and then appointed as the PLHIV program manager. In 2011, she co-founded the Facebook based International women movement Words of Women + as well as MENA based Women living with HIV regional network MENA ROSA and in turn became in 2011 MENA regional representative of ICW.

In 2014, Souhaila launched Tunisian NGO ATP+ (Tunisian Association of Positive Prevention), who is she the sous recipient of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, that she is still heading.

She describes herself as a natural born leader and activist. Souhaila shares her love of life and positive energy with people around her. ATP+ is about this, the molecule that gives energy and life. She understands from her experience that PLHIV’ rights, apart from declarations and documents, have yet to be concretized in the field. This is also true for LGBTQI, CSW, women and Young women, and children etc. As an activist, Souhaila is committed to continue the fight until all of those have full access to their rights. Souhaila is the member of ITPC Mena, and ICW Mena since 2012, since 2011, she represent all the population in CCM Tunisia and where she change the interior regalement for the representation of all population and not just People living with HIV.

ICW is important for us, because, it is our international network, which gives us the capacity in governance, access to rights and helps us to have information, to participate, share experience, to know the same problem in all the world, to give us energy, and opportunities! 


You can help us amplify our impact and improve the lives of women and girls living with HIV

Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe from this list | Unsubscribe from all lists