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Women at AIDS2018, 22nd International AIDS Conference | Amsterdam, the Netherlands | 23-27 July 2018
ICW AIDS2018 Civil Society Partner

May 2018

ICW Global Updates

A Sneak Peak into AIDS 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This month's issue we take you on a sneak peak of what you can expect at the AIDS 2018 conference. Below is what's featured in the issue:
  • Conference theme in Relation to Women living with HIV:
  • AIDS 2018 Program Review: ICW Represented in the PreConference Plenary Panel!
  • Important links to Consider:
  • Important Dates to Consider

Picture Courtesy of Aids2018.org

Conference theme in Relation to Women living with HIV:

The theme of this year’s conference, “Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges”, drawing attention to the need of rights-based approaches to reaching key populations, and other populations, specifically in our case, women living with HIV. Barriers still stand when it comes to accessing services, strengthening capacities, and amplifying voices of women living with HIV. Such barriers exist in structural, policy and programmatic areas, especially when it comes to translating what women want into practice. Women engagement still needs to be scaled up globally, to ensure not only their voices, but their violations are heard and taken into account when it comes to tailoring interventions for them. A recent report, Walking in Our Shoes, Perspectives of pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV, which is a study undertaken with an aim of collecting views of women living with HIV, pregnant and breastfeeding in three African countries, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia. The report highlights perspectives and recommendations from women living with HIV on how they can be supported to enhance their adherence to ART, and some of the recommendations included support and empowerment of women living with HIV with peer support approaches, a scale up of comprehensive treatment literacy programs and comprehensive counselling. These interventions stated above are psycho-social, which currently poses as a barrier to effective treatment outcomes in people living with HIV. In addition to that, quality healthcare services, and respect for women’s rights and dignity were highlighted as recommendations. Even as we aim to break barriers and build bridges for to reach key populations, there is still need to break barriers, as our findings indicate, to channel more attention to increasing psycho-social support which is key and effective in enhancing adherence among women living with HIV which is often overlooked by programmers as non-evidence based. Breaking barriers in programming to reach women living with HIV, especially young women and girls, who are currently leading in number of infections and AIDS-related deaths. These barriers are more complex for young women and girls, trying to deal with the changes in puberty, sexual and reproductive health and at the same time dealing with HIV, adherence and disclosure in general. Young women and girls also face stigma and discrimination as a barrier to access services, and face challenges speaking up for themselves and what they deserve, hence a need to address these barriers and effectively engage young women and girls.

 

AIDS 2018 Program Review: ICW Represented in the Pre-Conference Plenary Panel!

Olena during the ICW strategic plan development meeting in Bangkok, Nov 2017

ICW is excited that Olena Stryzac will be in the plenary. Olena is the ICW International Steering Committee (ISC) representative for Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

 The AIDS 2018 conference has a vast program, featuring different topics, sessions and workshops filled with interaction and learning opportunities. In this specific issue, we’ll be reviewing the program and sharing our insights on what and where we think you can learn from and session types we can have conversations on.

ICW will also be featured in a pre-conference session on U=U, a very critical session of unpacking the current studies and research that has been done towards the declaration of Undetectable equals Untransmittable. This topic is of interest, mainly because it's a great step towards changing the typical narrative of the infectiousness of HIV in all people living with HIV with factors not considered such as viral load and viral suppression. The topic also proves that emphasis and work needs to be done to ensure and enabling environment for women living with HIV to adhere well to treatment and achieve viral suppression, which in turn qualifies U=U especially also for prevention of vertical transmission of HIV. Such an enabling environment consists of zero stigma and discrimination of women living with HIV, availability and access to quality healthcare and at the same time psycho-social support to enable adherence to ARV treatment. You can join the conversation on twitter, and refer to the poster below.

Another important session we are looking forward to in the pre-conference is "Addressing the needs of adolescent girls and young women in the fight against HIV and AIDS" set to be held on 21st July 2018. This conversation is one that has been most challenging but yet most prospectively productive in creating better interventions and designing a user-centered approach for adolescent girls and young women. As long as they are involved in the process from the word go to practice at ground-level, better outcomes can be expected for them.

Important Links to Consider

Important Dates to Consider

  • 15 March 2018
    • Tour bookings open
    • Volunteer applications open
    15 April 2018
    • Youth Pre-Conference registration opens
    19 April 2018
    • Late-breaker abstract submissions open

    10 May 2018

    • Late-breaker abstract submissions close

    17 May 2018

    • Standard Registration ends
    1 June 2018
    • Deadline to request a Letter of Invitation and to submit a visa application
    30 June 2018
    • Affiliated Independent Events submissions close

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