Press release

Moving forward on ‘Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention’ – people living with HIV set principles for engagement

AMSTERDAM / GENEVA, 8 May 2009 – At an international technical consultation on ‘positive prevention’ convened by the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and UNAIDS on 27-28 April 2009 in Tunisia, experts outlined the ways in which people living with HIV should be central to HIV responses, in particular when and where those response have a direct impact on the lives of people living with HIV. The group agreed on the key elements of comprehensive ‘Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention’ (PHDP) programmes.

More than half of the 50 participants were people living with HIV who lead programmes and drive policies aimed at achieving better HIV responses and higher health and quality of life standards for people living with HIV. Along with development agencies, civil society organizations, country implementers, multilateral and UN agencies, and donor agencies, participants developed a set of values and principles as well as programmatic content and recommendations to guide the national, regional and international efforts of diverse stakeholders.

The experts stressed a human rights approach based on legal protections and a policy environment free of stigma and discrimination. They recommended programmes promote holistic health and wellness, including access to HIV treatment, care and support services, and by doing so contributions are made to the health and wellbeing of their partners, families and communities. Additionally, it was recommended that PHDP efforts should be responsive to the needs of key populations.

Kevin Moody, the International Coordinator and CEO of GNP+, stated, “To date, many positive prevention programmes have placed an undue burden of responsibility for HIV transmission on HIV positive people. The technical consultation was an opportunity to collectively frame policies and programmes within a human rights perspective and to shift the focus of preventing HIV transmission to a shared responsibility of all individuals irrespective of HIV status”.

Michael Bartos, Team Leader of the HIV prevention, care and support team at UNAIDS, added, “At the technical consultation, we learnt about work happening in many communities where people living with HIV are leading the design, programming, implementation, research, monitoring and evaluation of HIV programmes, including prevention programmes. Crucially, in coining the term ’Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention’, the group overcame the divide between HIV prevention and programmes that aim to improve the wellbeing of people living with HIV”.

The international technical consultation is part of an ongoing process of defining the role of HIV-positive people in PHDP. Further consultations at regional and national levels and with different key populations are planned to establish a common understanding of PHDP and provide guidance in developing policies and programmes globally.

A meeting report and a full set of values, principles, programmatic content and recommendations will be made public in early July 2009.

The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) is a global network for and by people living with HIV. GNP+ advocates to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. The central theme for the work of GNP+ is Reclaiming Our Lives! GNP+ programs are organized under four platforms of action: Empowerment; HIV Prevention; Human Rights; and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. For more information, please visit www.gnpplus.net  

UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations, bringing together the efforts and resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and ten UN system organizations in the AIDS response. The Secretariat headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland—with staff on the ground in more than 80 countries. The Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. Contributing to achieving global commitments to universal access to comprehensive interventions for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support is the number one priority for UNAIDS. Visit the UNAIDS website at www.unaids.org

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