Words, Denial and Accountability on HIV at the UN

What's the fuss all about? Do the words in the political declaration the UN is negotiating to review its commitment to fight AIDS make any difference? Why do people fight over these specific words: human rights, global targets, treatment, women and girls, vulnerable populations, harm reduction? It is hard to imagine that people will ever know the words that are so passionately parsed, carefully nuanced and artfully arranged to hide political agendas.

“AIDS is a Virus, Not a Moral Condition”

A panel discussion was hosted today by the Center for Health & Gender Equity and other NGOs that focused on US sexual and reproductive health policies as they affect HIV/AIDS work abroad. Rolake Odetoyinbo from Nigeria, Beatrice Were from Uganda, Meena Seeshu from India, Gabriela Liete from Brazil, and Rev. Johannes Petrus Heath from Namibia all had nearly the same message to share: that despite the benefits that have come from PEPFAR and other work of the Bush Administration, moralistic policies are making their work difficult.

Querida Blog: Dia de Jueves 01 de Junio

Hoy es un día particularmente interesante, encontré a mis delegados de sociedad civil quienes me orientaron mucho mejor en las reuniones, además me hablaron de la posibilidad de conversar con la Ministra de Salud de mi querido Perú quien a su vez es la representante política nacional para la reunión de revisión que ya es mañana, mientras tanto entre a uno de los paneles que se estaba dando, a estas Alturas querrás saber que son los paneles, bueno, los paneles, son mesas con invitados que discuten sobre algún tema en particular y que cuya sistematización se supone influye en la declaración de compromisos.

Who Prevents Progress at UN AIDS Meeting?

The media is getting part of the story from the UN HIV/AIDS meetings, and as much as this blog has been active in holding the US accountable for those members of its delegation that hold narrow ideological perspectives, the US alone is not solely responsible for the current state of negotiations.

Gabon, the current chair of the African Group is chairing a bloc of nations, but apparently in name only. In fact, there is an official African Union position that supports more aggressive positions that Gabon is ignoring. Nigeria deserves creidt for breaking from the pack and asserting that this is the moment the global community must hold one another accountable.

Passion Pushes Power to Act at UN AIDS Meeting

After I attended a youth caucus meeting where language for a joint youth message was finalized, there was a demonstrations outside of the UN, where AIDS activists from around the world came together in concert as impassioned chants and speeches rallied out towards the towering UN building.

“BUSH is BANANAS!” shouted one chant-leader, mimicking a recent pop song, and a member of Act-Up, one of the most influential and famous grassroots political organizations in recent history.

Former Bush AIDS Czar Speaks Out Against Administration

Wednesday morning, Advocates for Youth held a press conference that was attended by youth from a collection of nations. Former Bush administration AIDS czar Scott Evertz had spoken out against the administration he used to represent. I was surprised but thoroughly impressed to find that Mr. Evertz, the first openly gay official to be chosen for the current administration, pulled no punches in speaking out against the specifics of the administration's widely lauded PEPFAR plan. He referred to the profound lack of reality employed in conservative policymakers' treatment of LGBT youth: "If you teach them abstinence only until marriage, and it is illegal for them to marry: do you expect them to remain abstinent their entire lives?" he asked.

Mr. Evertz, while coyly remarking at how Advocates as well as other NGOs used to be the "thorn in his side," said he is now able to join them in lambasting current PEPFAR policy: "People keep asking me if US AIDS Policy has been hijacked by the far right. I'm not sure that it's been entirely hijacked, but let's just say they're on the plane," he remarked.

Youth Leaders Educating Ambassadors

On Tuesday, members of the youth coalition began reaching out to their national delegations, advocating on behalf of their [img_assist|nid=215|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=75|height=100]peers using the training they acquired in a manner that was both articulate and authoritative.

I was able to sit in on a meeting between Ambassador Sealy with Carla and Dion, two Tobagonian youth activists, at the Trinidad and Tobago Permanent Mission to the UN. I was amazed at both the amount of time provided by the ambassador for both of them to explain the situation on the ground, to advocate a comprehensive ABCDEF policy for education and the reduction of stigma, and then the ambassador's own pledge to get the two in touch with their UNGASS delegation.

UN HIV Negotiation Process Unprecedented

"This process is unprecedented in its lack of clarity, it is clear that the process is being made up as it goes along," was the comment made by one NGO representative with a long history of such negotiations at the UN. Still another experienced UN negotiator said "there is no clear understanding among the member nations of the language as it exists now, just bits and pieces -- the entire process is a disaster." But the process is grinding to a halt just as governmental representatives are arriving to join the negotiations on the declaration, assuming there will be a declaration to sign. Or is it? The Rumor Mill is hearing all of this and more from sources involved in negotiations.

La Marcha de Banderas

Si hay algo que de verdad me agrado y me lleno de energía y positivismo fue la Marcha de Banderas, se hizo desde el frente del edifico de las Naciones Unidas en donde ya sabes se hará mañana viernes la reunión de revisión de Alto Nivel de la Asamblea general de Naciones Unidas en VIH-sida.

Sabias Tu lo que es el ABC?

No, no es el de la escuela, se refiere a la política oficial del gobierno de USA , A : abstinencia ... fíjate, encima lo ponen primero ...B : Be faithful, o sea se fiel ... si claro, díganselo a Blanca Nieves y sus siete, ojo, son siete enanitos, sin contar a un príncipe que de azul solo tiene el nombre o los lentes de contacto que se yo, y C que quiere decir que uses Condon.