Querida Blog: Dia Miercoles 31, parte 2

Ha sido un día realmente excitante, empiezo contándote que hubo una conferencia de prensa por la mañana de hoy, antes de eso, que crees? Me dieron una Hermosa cámara digital con las que he empezado a tomar algunas fotografías, jejeje, dicho sea de paso, todas las fotos que veas en mi blogsito las tome yo.... A ver, se presentaron cuatro personas, Scott Evertz, antiguo director de la Oficina Nacional de SIDA de USA, John Santelli, medico y profesor de la Universidad de Columbia y Beatrice Were, fundadora de la comunidad de Mujeres que viven con SIDA de Uganda, todos presentados por James Wagoner, presidente de Advocates for Youth. Todos hablaron del problema que los programas de prevención del VIH basados solo en la abstinencia plantean para el mundo de hoy, así pues, la abstinencia como única forma de prevención juega en contra de los pilares mismos de la Prevención: Los derechos, el respeto y la responsabilidad.

Removing Stigma Important, Not Just for HIV

When the head of  working US Delegation to the UN meetings on HIV/AIDS, Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, talks about "removing the stigma associated with the disease" as an important path toward increasing testing, educating and treating HIV positive people to reduce infection rates - the world should rejoice. When he fails to see how the administration he serves undermines those words with ever more powerful actions, you begin to see why the world is increasingly frustrated with policies from the US.

The Bush Administration should stop stigmatizing the communities most at risk for HIV altogether, not just the disease.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I was pretty excited to hear that self-made global development guru Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Millennium Project, announced yesterday that investing in sexual and reproductive health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Stop traffic! Way to go Jeffrey Sachs!

The 178-page report accompanying this momentous announcement, Public Choices, Private Decisions: Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, kind of reminds me of the Cairo Programme of Action, a beautifully comprehensive global action plan that puts women's reproductive health and rights at the center of international development. The Programme of Action was adopted by the world's governments at a conference back in 1994, and reaffirmed and extended at numerous regional and global meetings thereafter, including the 1995 Beijing conference on women, which itself produced a totally fantastic internationally agreed comprehensive action plan on women's health and rights.

Are the Conservative Ideologues Hiding?

While rumors of the US taking a negotiating stand promoting "evidence-informed" as opposed to "evidence-based" research escalates at meetings about the greatest public heatlh crisis known to humankind, the conservative ideologues who back such language are "evidence-invisible."They have not even applied to participate in any of the public forums where their ideas could heard and debated.  

At the recently concluded hearing of Civil Society and governmental representatives, not one NGO spoke in favor the abstinence-only until marriage policies that others were complaining about. No one with a conservative perspective was there to explain why condoms are bad, to show the "evidence" that "informs" their ideology or to articulate clearly why public health data should not be the basis for decisions about the AIDS pandemic.

Where is the Leadership from Within? NGOs Point the Way

The frustration can be seen on people's faces, and heard in their voices.  The just ended joint meeting of governmental and Civil Society representatives at the UN HIV/AIDS meeting was a portrait in the difficult nature of diplomacy.  The governmnetal officials said little, artfully, while representatives of NGOs said time and again, "I will not speak diplomatically" before starting to list the real world circumstances they face everyday -- the very problems the world community has assembled to address -- and the subject of the increasingly tense negotiations as the hours tick by toward the Friday deadline for a declaration.

Peter Piot, UNAIDS Chief, said last night that he is angry at the prospect of an immoral declaration coming out of these meetings, one that would fail to address the very real state of HIV/AIDS after 25 years of experience, public heatlh research and dedicated work by passionate people worldwide.

UNAIDS’ Piot Tells Delegates He is “Angry” About Negotations

Last night, UNAIDS hosted a dinner reception for the Global Coalition on Women & AIDS leadership council at the Ford Foundation.  Several leaders spoke briefly, including UNAIDS chief Peter Piot.

To a room of official country delegates to the UN and high level NGO staff, Piot confessed his disappointment about the state of negotiations -- as of last night -- on the political declaration for the UNGASS on AIDS.

"I am angry," he said, adding that the political maneuvering in the negotiations were coming close to being "unethical." 

"This is about people's lives."

Millenium Development Goals Cannot Be Reached Without Reproductive Health

The Millenium Project released a major evidence-based report yesterday calling for the inclusion of reproductive health goals and clearly stating that the UN's Development Goals for 2015 cannot be met without them. The report was released during the 33rd Annual Global Health Council meeting in Washington, DC.

The report, entitled Public Choices, Private Decisions: Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Millenium Development Goals is an effort to help the world see the integreal relationship between sexual and reproductive health and acheiving all of the other goals.

The Rumor Mill: Who Needs Evidence Anyway?

Negotiations on final language for the political declaration at the UNGASS on AIDS are not going well.

Perhaps adding to the tension is one bit of language that the US delegation is suggesting: they want to change "evidence-based" (as in "evidence-based sexuality education," "evidence-based prevention efforts," etc.) to "evidence-informed."

Evidence-informed?!  Imagine the ramifications of such a document -- one that is supposed to be providing guidance for international response to HIV/AIDS...  "Yes, we're aware of the evidence.  We have been informed.  But we'd rather not do it that way."

As the public health community continues to voice its concern about the triumph of ideology over science (perhaps now over reason as well?), this news suggests that the US delegation is not listening. 

Querida Blog: Dia Miercoles 31, parte 1

Amanece una vez más… a las cuatro y treinta de la mañana… pero para mi parecieran las 6 o 7de la mañana. Desde que llegue hace ya tres días me he sorprendido de lo temprano que el sol sale y lo tarde que se oculta aquí en New York, porque si, aunque no lo creas, ahora, este angelito te esta escribiendo desde New York. Entre otras cosas, he notado que la ciudad es grande y sus edificios muy altos que me cuesta creer que haya tanta gente en ellos, hasta incluso ya he tenido la oportunidad de extraviarme entre las calles.

GHC Panel: Jeffrey Sachs (Part 1)

This segment includes the first half of Jeffrey Sachs' comments. The second half of his comments are available to view in a subsequent post.