The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) joined stakeholders and community representatives at the 41st UNAIDS PCB meeting in Geneva.
ICW was represented by Lilian Mworeko at the Regional Coordinator from ICW Eastern Africa Spoke during the thematic segment on Stigma and Discrimination in healthcare settings where she gave lived experiences of stigma and discrimination experienced by women and girls living with HIV in healthcare settings. She used this opportunity to share the WHO Guidelines on SRHR for women Living with HIV. This guide was developed with contributions from ICW women Please see the LINK here to see the full guideline ICW Advocacy Manager Florence Anam also gave an intervention on the thematic segment on Zero Discrimination in health care settings. See the intervention below;-
"Thank you to UNAIDS and to the members of the PCB for the opportunity to give voice to the lived experiences of women living with HIV around the world.
Women living with HIV, particularly networks of women living with HIV have been sounding the alarm and raising awareness of our lived experiences of stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses in health care settings especially in the context of realizing our sexual and reproductive health and rights for the past 25 years.
With relatively limited resources, we have been documenting and raising awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on our ability to access and adhere to treatment and we have supported the call to arms from our sisters, allies and partners in key populations about the damaging impact stigma has. Forced and coerced sterilization is a particularly violent and egregious violation that occurs in a continuum of disrespect for the dignity and agency of women living with HIV in the context of our reproductive health and rights.
This is not a problem of the past- this is a problem today, now and it is urgent for the lives and well being of women living with HIV and for our shared goals to reach 90 90 90.
As a result of the bravery of women living with HIV coming forward to report these violations, often at great personal risk, women and legal partners have been able to bring litigation in Namibia and Chile and ICW’s sister networks along with KELIN and GEMS are involved in two cases now in Kenya as well as ICW Southern Africa having filed a complaint before the Commission on Gender Equality in South Africa on behalf of women who have been forcibly sterilized there.
But we know that litigation alone will not create the sea change we need. We need structural changes that reach down to the grass roots We need policy and practice that doesn’t just sit in policy binders but that empowering women to know their rights particularly SRHR and supporting them to claim those rights- not just in global meetings like this one but in the private intimate spaces of clinic and doctors’ offices.
We want this to stop so that not one more woman experiences this violence. And we want justice."