Issue Papers and Statements
Released date: 18-May-2016
Invest in HIV Prevention Research that Responds to the Needs of Women and Girls
The International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) joins development partners, policy makers, advocates and other stakeholders to observe the International HIV Vaccine Awareness Day which is marked annually on May 18th. Also known as World AIDS Vaccine Day, this day is an opportunity for HIV vaccine advocates to recognize and thank all of the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, and scientists who work together to find a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine.1
Join our advocacy workshop entitled ‘HIV Vaccines Research and Development’ to mark World HIV Vaccines Awareness Day, to be held in partnership with Kenya AIDS Vaccines Initiative (KAVI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) on May 18, 2016 at 3pm NBO time/8am Washington D.C. time.
To participate, please email your Skype ID or phone number to email@example.com
Historically, women have been underrepresented in AIDS vaccine research, and especially women living with HIV for whom vaccines may have a therapeutic effect.2 This lack of involvement is partially a result of non-existent or ineffective recruitment strategies and inadequate financing to involve women in programmatic design and decision-making processes at all levels of the research process. Ensuring women, including women living with HIV, participate in all levels of research development and implementation can help researchers recognize and overcome barriers such as sensitivities around HIV disclosure and stigma, and practical barriers such as child care and transport needs, as well as ensuring that technical jargon is accessible to all research participants.3
ICW calls on researchers and stakeholders to make deliberate efforts for equitable recruitment in research that support meaningful engagement of women and girls, and particularly, women living with HIV.
We urge researchers and other stakeholders in the scientific community to make deliberate efforts to support the engagement of women and particularly, women living with HIV in research. Our participation will ensure accountability mechanisms are in place for monitoring implementation of good participatory practice (GPP)4 and other ethical advisory mechanism followed during clinical trials. This will increase accountability, program effectiveness and have positive outcomes on research for all women and girls, especially, women living with HIV.
Call to Action
ICW demands gender equality in vaccine research!
ICW calls on the research community to ensure that women are equitably engaged in clinical research trials and to ensure that data collected is disaggregated by gender and age. Join ICW in calling for investment in preventive HIV research and holding governments and leaders accountable for ensuring the equitable participation of women and girls in research that is respectful of human rights and results in interventions that are realistic and responsive to our needs.
Advocate for investment in HIV preventive research
We urge all women living with HIV in all our diversity and our allies to act and urge national stakeholders in health and international community to invest in gender responsive research and support implementation of new HIV prevention technologies as a critical element to ending AIDS by 2030, reaching UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5.
Support community action for responsive HIV research
Actively participate in research going on within your community. Support peers to engage with researchers to ensure that women and girls effectively shape the research agenda. Participate in Community Advisory Groups (CAGs), which provide an opportunity not only for increasing the visibility and voice of women living with HIV, but also for collaborating with researchers and other stakeholders to increase the relevance and quality of research and promoting acceptance by communities.
Share the information about the importance of preventive HIV vaccines research
We urge all women living with HIV in all our diversity and our allies to sensitise our communities on the importance of preventive HIV research, as well as on the development of new HIV prevention technologies. Sensitizing communities catalyses interest to participate and to be agents of change in supporting effective research.
To join in the conversation and have your voice heard – join our advocacy workshop on ‘HIV Vaccines Research and Development’ on May 18, 2016 at 3pm NBO time/8am Washington D.C. time. This advocacy workshop is held in partnership with Kenya AIDS Vaccines Initiative (KAVI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to participate, please email your Skype ID or phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKE RESEARCH WORK FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS LIVING WITH HIV!
- UNAIDS 2011; Good Participatory Practice; Guidelines for biomedical HIV prevention trials.
ICW HIV Vaccine Awareness Day 2016 Statement A4 (199 KB) ICW HIV Vaccine Awareness Day 2016 Statement US Letter (199 KB)
Released date: 12-May-2016
ICW Demands Stigma, Discrimination and Violence-Free HIV Response to End AIDS by 2030
The International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) joins with communities around the world in commemorating the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on May 15, 2016.
ICW remembers our sisters, women and girls living with HIV who have died due to HIV and AIDS. In honor of their memory, ICW’s global sisterhood demands a sustainable HIV response that is responsive to our lived realities, needs, promotes our human rights, responds to gender transformative realities and realizes the meaningful involvement of women and girls living with HIV at all decision-making levels.
The candlelight memorial coordinated by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) every third Sunday of May annually is much more than just a memorial to us. It is an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of the community response to HIV and the importance of global solidarity and investment in community networks to lead efforts in breaking down barriers of violence against women and girls living with HIV in all our diversity including stigma and discrimination and other human rights violations and giving hope to new generations.
This year, in light of the International Candlelight Memorial 2016 theme of ‘Engage, Educate, Empower’ ICW calls upon development partners, policy-makers, governments, private sector take action now to save the lives of women living with HIV:
- Address barriers to health service uptake and retention of women, girls and their families by ensuring access to quality healthcare services. This includes ensuring resilient, accessible and sustainable systems of health that provide adequate and regular supplies of life saving commodities, other medications, and diagnostic tools, and promote smooth integration with other programs in ways that delivers the best care for women living with HIV and their families.
- Create stigma, discrimination and violence free environments for women and girls including key populations living with HIV to access treatment care and support and to meaningfully engage in all spheres including socio-economic, political and environmental.
- Recognize the impact that gender based violence has on the health, well-being and lives of women living with HIV. End violence against women and girls
living with HIV in all its forms and empower women and girls living with HIV of all ages to stand up for our rights to live our lives free of violence.
Uphold human rights by investing in accountability mechanisms and training to ensure service providers can meet international human rights standards and act to respect, protect and fulfill our fundamental human rights to achieve the highest attainable standard of health.
- Create opportunity for networks of women living with HIV to engage in policy-making processes and implementation of the sustainable development agenda 2030 at country levels including the funding mechanisms that must respond to our needs and realities. Only when women living with HIV are involved, resources can be used efficiently to provide a sustainable HIV response for universal access to quality health and social services.
- Increase investment in community-based responses to improve linkages to services, treatment literacy, preparedness, and agency that enable women to receive quality services and adhere to treatment. This includes support to deliver community-based services, which are key in health care systems, community support groups, peer support and expert clients living with HIV, and linkages to networks of women living with HIV.
Together We Are ICW!
International AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2016 Statement (248 KB)
Criminalisation,Equality,General,Reproductive Health,Rights,Women,About ICW
Released date: 10-May-2016
What Women Living with HIV Want!
ICW Women Living with HIV – High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS Consultation Outcome
In preparation for the upcoming High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS (HLM), to be held from June 8-10, 2016 in New York City, the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) conducted a process of consultation with our members around the world including meetings, reviewing regional positions, one-on-one dialogues, and an online survey of its members to understand better what women living with HIV want to see prioritized in the HLM Outcome Document and in country commitments. The consultation process was an important avenue to hear the voices and perspectives of women living with HIV from around the world.
In the weeks leading up to the High Level Meeting, ICW is working with our allies including International Council of AIDS Organizations (ICASO) and International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) to ensure that our voices are heard in the negotiations around developing the HLM, which will guide and monitor the HIV and AIDS response towards achieving the end of the AIDS epidemic by 2030; and towards realizing the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals. A zero draft of the was released by the UN on April 18, 2016. It will be negotiated by advocates, policymakers, and governmental officials over the coming weeks leading up to the HLM.
ICW Calls on Governments and Key Stakeholders to:
Commit to Gender Equality!
- Create a gender-responsive policy that takes a human rights-based approach to the HIV response;
- Implement programming priorities and funding that recognize gender discrimination as a barrier to a successful HIV response;
- Recognize and invest in community engagement of women living with HIV as central to the success of the HIV response;
- Commit to mobilize resources, especially at community level, and fully fund and support robust community participation including peer-led research.
End Discrimination and Criminalization!
- Eliminate adverse laws and policies including criminalization of HIV transmission which continue to impede HIV prevention and treatment, and the criminalization
of key populations like women who use drugs and sex workers; strengthen commitments already written in the Outcome Document to reject overly broad
criminalization of HIV as well as to reform punitive legal policies and frameworks aimed at people living with HIV.
Prioritize Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights!
- Recognize women’s autonomy over their bodies, and that gender discrimination is a barrier to ending AIDS by 2030;
- Keep all language regarding sexual health and reproductive rights and comprehensive sexuality education currently in the Outcome Document, and add
commitments to reducing violence against women, especially in conflict settings;
- Recognize that sexual health and reproductive rights encompasses abortion on demand, clear guidelines on breastfeeding for women living with HIV, freedom
from forced and coerced sterilization, rights-based PMTCT programs, as well as increased commitment and investment to ending maternal mortality;
these must be reflected as priorities in the Outcome Document;
- Recognize that women living with HIV are not only mothers, but we are also independent human beings, who are also deserving of their full human right
including sexual, reproductive and health rights and access to treatment care and support.
A call to women living with HIV prior to and during the HLM:
- Find out who will represent your country at the HLM, and reach out (write a letter to your UN mission and, if possible, join the delegation!);
- Meet with your country delegation to share ICW’s priorities for the HLM Outcome Document;
- Share information with one another, and become part of the ICW HLM working group.
NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US!
ICW HLM Consultation Outcome 2016 Statement (52 KB)
World Malaria Day 2016 StatementStatements
Released date: 25-Apr-2016
Calling on Women Living with HIV to Get Informed, Take Action – End Malaria for Good!
World Malaria Day 2016; – April 25th, 2016
Malaria co-infection causes 2 million deaths of people living with HIV per year.1
Updated research on the intersection of women living with HIV co-infected with Malaria is severely lacking,2 however, we know that women living with HIV with Malaria co-infection are at increased risk of treatment failure of anti-malarial drugs which can have deadly consequences.3 Additionally, Malaria has been reported to temporarily increase, HIV viral load and can lead to compromised immunity, giving rise to a host of other health challenges.4
Women living with HIV who are pregnant, in particular, have an increased risk of developing severe malaria with complications, and have an increased risk of adverse outcomes.567 Additionally Pregnant women living with HIV and malaria co-infection are more likely to experience anaemia, symptomatic malaria infections, placental malaria infection, and low birth weight.
On this World Malaria Day the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) seeks to raise awareness about the deadly consequences of HIV and Malaria co-infection for all women of reproductive age and support women living with HIV to protect themselves and their families, and issue a call to action to governments and policy makers in health to respond to Malaria and HIV co-infection.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
Malaria is preventable and curable and women living with HIV can protect themselves and their children against this potentially deadly disease. Women living with HIV can also sensitize and educate our sisters on the importance of preventive measures against malaria!
The WHO recommends:8
- Insecticide-treated mosquito nets & Indoor spraying with residual insecticides: Preventing mosquito bites is the best strategy to prevent Malaria.
- Anti-malarial drugs: If you know you will be exposed to Malaria talk with your Doctor or health care provider about whether an anti-malarial preventative drug is advisable.
- Early diagnosis and treatment: Malaria does not always have symptoms but if you have fever, headache, chills and vomiting get tested for Malaria.
As the world comes together to commemorate World Malaria Day, ICW calls on policy makers and governments to engage women living with HIV in efforts to ‘End Malaria for good’ and to ensure healthy maternal and child health outcomes for women living with HIV and their children.
ICW’s Call to Action on Women living with HIV & Malaria:
- Ensure that women living with HIV are prioritized in responses to prevent and treat Malaria.
- Governments and the global HIV response must invest in:
- studies that address malaria prevention in women living with HIV;
- research on the often dangerous interactions between antimalarial and antiretroviral drugs;
- Prioritize integration of malaria programs with ante-natal care, particularly within Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programs;
- Strengthen comprehensive antenatal care services to decrease malaria in pregnancy outcomes and improve maternal and newborn outcomes;
- We call for programs that focus on enhanced malaria prevention during pregnancy to decrease the risk of adverse birth outcomes and transmission of HIV from mother to child;
- Meaningful engagement of communities and particularly networks of women living with HIV must be scaled-up to include community sensitization and mobilization around Malaria prevention and understanding the impacts of Malaria co-infection on women living with HIV who are pregnant.
For more information visit: www.worldmalariaday.org
NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US!
Released date: 11-Apr-2016
Ensure All Women Living with HIV Have Access to Rights-Based Maternal Health!
International Day for Maternal Health and Rights 2016 – April 11th, 2016
Maternal health is critical to achieving an end to AIDS by 2030, and to realizing all Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health.
Maternal death: While maternal mortality has fallen by 44% since 1990,1 pregnancy continues to carry a high risk of death worldwide, especially for women living with HIV.
Globally, 800 women die every day due to largely preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth – which amounted to an estimated 289,000 maternal deaths in 2010.2
Low access to maternal health services, Including lack of skilled birth attendants: Studies have revealed low utilization by women living with HIV of critical maternal health services, including voluntary or routine HIV counselling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, appropriate contraceptives, antenatal care (ANC), and post natal care (PNC).
This lack of utilization is largely driven by violations of women’s rights both during pregnancy and during the breastfeeding period. Additionally, women living with HIV and AIDS lack skilled attendants at birth, who can greatly reduce the risk of maternal and new born mortality.5
Women living with HIV may be more affected by certain reproductive health-related complications, including miscarriage, post-partum haemorrhage, puerperal sepsis, and complications from caesarean section deliveries.6
While mothers should have a choice about their birthing strategy, home-based births must also be coupled with strategies that remove community barriers to accessing emergency obstetric care, including birth attendants’ recognition of danger signs and effective referral mechanisms.7
Abortion: Globally, women living with HIV often lack access to safe abortion. Every year, worldwide, about 42 million women with unintended pregnancies choose abortion, and nearly half of these procedures, 20 million, are unsafe.8
Inadequate and inaccurate information: Many women living with HIV lack accurate and up-to-date information on reproductive health, including family planning methods, abortion, sterilization, STIs, free and informed consent requirements, and PMTCT.9
Unmet need for contraception: Women and girls living with HIV experience unmet need for contraception; globally, 225 million women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for contraception.10
Stigma and discrimination: Women living with HIV encounter multiple barriers when trying to access services at health centres. These include stigma and discrimination from their families, their communities, and health workers.11
ICW calls upon all the stakeholders at all levels to recognize the need to eradicate barriers for improving maternal health among women and girls living with HIV.
- Women and girls living with HIV must be provided with accurate and comprehensive information on all aspects of maternal health and rights;
- Stakeholders must develop and promote programs and policies that combat stigma, discrimination, and abuse women living with HIV face in healthcare settings;
- Stakeholders must develop programs and services that promote comprehensive, holistic care strategies that address barriers to accessing early antenatal care and include psychosocial support for women living with HIV; and ensure meaningful involvement of women living with HIV in the design, implementation, and evaluation of these programs and services;
- Stakeholders must increase research on drivers of positive maternal health outcomes for women living with HIV; in particular, research to identify causes of higher maternal mortality among women living with HIV and to develop evidence-based responses to maternal health disparities for women living with HIV;
- Access to treatment, care, and support and PVT services must be increased, and women living with HIV must be empowered to make voluntary, fully informed, autonomous decisions about whether and when to be treated;
- All branches of government must be involved in the response to maternal mortality, HIV and gender-based discrimination.
ICW calls upon women to demand accountability from their governments for maternal health care, and to advocate for increased access to health information and services.
Join the conversation on Twitter #IntlMHDay.
NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US!