AIDS 2016: sessions related to harm reduction

EHRN has selected sessions and events of AIDS2016, during which issues related to harm reduction, financing, implications of transition to middle-income country status will be discussed as well as events with EHRN participation.

15 July 2016

In a few days time, Durban in South Africa will welcome the 21st International AIDS conference (AIDS 2016) where quite a few civil society activists, experts and decision makers will represent the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. For your convenience, EHRN is presenting here a list of selected sessions and events at the conference, during which issues related to harm reduction, financing, implications of transition to middle-income country status will be discussed as well as events with EHRN participation.

Full conference program is available here.  

Monday 7/18

10:30 - 11:30: Middle Income Countries: Reclassified

Speakers: David Wilson, The World Bank, United States; Ivan Varentsov, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), Lithuania; Rosemary Mburu, WACI Health, South Africa; Julia Greenberg, United States

This session interrogates donor eligibility criteria currently employed by funders, specifically, but not limited to, the use of income based country classifications for bilateral and multilateral donor funding for HIVand AIDS. Presenters highlight challenges faced by key populations in MICs when international aid is reduced or withdrawn too quickly, using case studies from 3 MICs (Serbia, Vietnam, South Africa), and discuss characteristics of responsible and sustainable transitions. They also mobilize support for a change in the donors’ eligibility criteria that responds to the reality of concentrated epidemics among key populations by brainstorming with participants more appropriate indicators for assessing funding needs.

Participants can develop an understanding and an appreciation that GNI alone is not a sufficient indicator to assess funding needs and that alternate indicators are needed, understanding that a government’s ability to pay does not equate to willingness to pay - especially for key populations that are criminalised or discriminated against.

Participants further understand the role of civil society in delivering services with limited funding.

12:30 - 14:30: Financing for Universal Health Coverage: Elimination of Epidemics of AIDS and Viral Hepatitis

Organizer: WHO

This satellite will address critical issues in financing HIV and viral hepatitis responses within the context of achieving universal health coverage and the elimination of AIDS and viral heptatitis epidemics as public health threats. It aims: • To review key elements of health systems financing towards the achievement of universal health coverage and how it incorporates financing for HIV and viral hepatitis; • To highlight the challenges and opportunities to mobilize additional resources for health, stressing the importance of domestic revenue mobilization efforts; • To explore how to increase efficiency of investments in HIV and viral hepatitis to maximize impact and facilitate transition from donor assistance; and • To provide country experiences with financing-related issues.

Tuesday 7/19

07:00 - 08:30: Leveraging HIV Funding to Address Criminalization and its Impact on Sex Workers, Transgender Women and Gay Men in Africa

Organizer: MSMGF together with AJWS, NSWP, and IRTG: A Global Network of Transgender Women and HIV

This panel will bring together donors and activists addressing human rights in the context of HIV at the grassroots and global levels. Panelists will address why very little HIV funding is going to human rights programming despite evidence to support their widespread deployment. Key gaps in the global rights-based response will be analyzed to clarify how HIV funding can better support the immediate needs of criminalized communities while advocating for long-term goal of policy change, including decriminalization. Panelists: Ralf Jurgens, Senior Coordinator, Human Rights at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; Peninah Mwangi, Executive Director of Bar Hostess Employment and Support Program (BHESP); Stephen K. McGill, Executive Director of Stop AIDS Liberia (SAIL); and Leigh Ann van der Merwe, Coordinator and Founder of Social Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender and Intersex Women of Africa (SHE). Moderator: Javid Syed, Director of Sexual Health and Rights, AJWS.

14:30 - 17:00: How to Avoid Jumping from the Kettle into the Fire: What You can do When Your Country Becomes "Middle Income"

Organizer: Community Workshop facilitated by: Maurine Murenga, International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), Kenya; Olena Stryzhak, All-Ukrainian Network of the People Living with HIV/AIDS, Ukraine; Javier Hourcade Bellocq, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Argentina

As more countries move towards middle-income status, they may become ineligible for multilateral funds, whether or not they are prepared to invest in their domestic HIV responses. As donors deprioritize middle-income countries and reduce their financing for health, national funding doesn’t fill the gap, leading to antiretroviral therapy stock-outs, long health facility queues and people living with HIV (PLHIV) and key populations living with HIV (KPLHIV) networks with reduced capacity for vital initiatives. We know socio-political preoccupations among the domestic national leadership complicate developing comprehensive, rights-based HIV responses. This workshop discusses what strategies and tools communities employ to respond to these challenges, and how PLHIV and KPLHIV networks can collaborate to ensure financing for community initiatives remain a high priority, despite domestic and global donor retrenchment.

18:30 - 20:30: The Collapse of Global AIDS Funding

Organizer: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Global AIDS funding is on the edge of collapse. Funding has remained flat for years, meanwhile millions more people in resource-constrained countries have become eligible for treatment under the new WHO guidelines. The funding gap now stands at $6 billion to $10 billion per year. The need for funding advocacy is now more urgent than ever. Join us for a panel discussion on what advocacy steps must be taken to help close the funding gap and prevent millions of deaths due to AIDS.

18:30 - 20:30: Financing South Africa’s HIV Response

Organizer: UNAIDS, National Department of Health and Results for Development Institute

Together with UNAIDS, R4D, and other partners, the South African Government will showcase the successes of its HIV program and highlight approaches to sustainably financing the epidemic response. Speakers will discuss evidence and policy initiatives on: • What to do: The South African Investment Case establishes a cost-effective mix of interventions for HIV and TB and proposes scale-up plans for prevention and treatment activities. • How much is spent: The Government, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund are jointly tracking and analysing their expenditure to facilitate a smooth transition of donor-supported programs. • Who pays in the future: The Government and partners are exploring different scenarios for more integrated HIV financing and their implications for the proposed NHI system. • Involving key constituencies: South Africa’s partners are seeking new ways to engage civil society to play a key role in the HIV response, as well as surveying new models for public-private partnerships.

Wednesday 7/20

 11:00 - 12:30: Opportunities for and Challenges to Sustainable Financing of the AIDS Response

Organizer: Symposia Session; speakers: Mark Dybul, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Switzerland (to be confirmed); Jimmy Kolker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), United States (to be confirmed)

Predictable and sustainable financing of the AIDS response is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. HIV financing is currently characterised by high donor dependency and uncertainty about future international assistance. This session addresses the critical importance of sustainable financing for the AIDS response moving towards 2030 and beyond and focuses on three critical components of sustainable financing: (1) fully funding the Global Fund; (2) transitions in middle-income status and (3) innovations and leveraging resources from non-traditional sources, including the private sector.

The session is targeted towards policy and decision makers, HIV advocates and activists and will provoke discussion on different aspects of sustainably financing of the AIDS response. Participants will gain an understanding of the key elements of sustainable HIV financing and their importance for the efforts in achieving the 2030 targets.

14:30 - 17:00: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women Who Inject Drugs

Co-facilitators: Monica Ciupagea, UNODC, Austria; Ruth Birgin, International Network of Women Who Use Drugs (INWUD), Australia; Judy Chang, Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN), United Kingdom; Olga Belyaeva, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), Lithuania Monica Beg, UNODC, Austria

Women who inject drugs (WID) face a range of gender-specific barriers to accessing HIV-related services and remain a particularly hard-to-reach population, even where harm reduction programs are in place. The stigma and discrimination that they experience, which is often heightened by gender-based violence and abuse, increases their risk of contracting HIV, other blood-borne viruses. Often, harm reduction projects may not be able to guarantee WID personal safety and confidentiality and do not provide sexual and reproductive health services, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services, or child care. This workshop uses existing success stories to build the capacity of the participants to mainstream gender into services for people who inject drugs. It provides guidance on HIV programming for women who inject drugs.

Thursday 7/21

11:00 - 12:30: Financing the Response to HIV: Show Us the Money

Organizer: Oral Abstract Session; co-chairs: Michael Ruffner, U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), United States; Yogan Pillay, National Department of Health, South Africa (to be confirmed)

11:00 - 12:30 Sustainability and Responsible Transition from Donor to National Investments

Co-Facilitators: Raminta Stuikyte, UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, Lithuania; Sergey Votyagov, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), Lithuania; Ivan Cruickshank, Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC), Jamaica; Faith Mamba, UNAIDS, South Africa

As the world sets new ambitious goals for ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, countries around the globe are faced with the dual challenge of front loading investments to accelerate the scale-up of AIDS responses and sustaining the achievements made to date. Middle-income countries are experiencing reductions in donor funding which have adversely affected HIV programmes particularly for key populations. Countries and donors have a mutual responsibility to ensure that donor transitions are carefully planned and well managed. This workshop aims to build knowledge and skills to inform the planning and implementation of transitions; it facilitates the identification of roles and responsibilities during the transition process and highlights strategies to promote well managed transitions. The workshop also stresses the importance of collaborative action between ministries of finance, health, donors and civil society in agreeing on clear milestones and priorities to govern transitions.

13:00 – 14:30: Funding and Fast-Tracking Human Rights in the HIV Response

Speakers: Patrick Eba, Human Rights & Law Advisor, UNAIDS; Olga Belyaeva, Manager, Membership and Community Strengthening Team, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN); Olga Perez, Senior Program Coordinator, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Development Law Organization (IDLO); Ralf Jürgens, Senior Coordinator – Human Rights, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria

Why and how must human rights be part of “fast-tracking” the HIV response? What difference can human rights programs make on the ground, including through direct legal services and empowering members of key populations to advocate for their rights and health? What opportunities exist for funding such initiatives, including in middle-income countries where key populations too often still face political hostility, punitive legal environments and human rights violations?

18:30 - 20:30: Innovative Approaches for Sustainable Financing of AIDS Responses

Organizer: UNDP

Friday, 7/22

11:00 - 12:30: Getting the Money We Need: the Case for Investment and Using Resources for Maximum Impact

Symposia Session; Chair: Bernhard Schwartlander, World Health Organization (WHO), China

The session addresses the need for increased investment in the response to AIDS along with greater attention to the use of funding for maximum impact. Target audiences include civil society advocates and decision makers. The audience will learn about key arguments to make the case for increased investment, issues to consider in order to improve the use of funding, and priorities for advocacy on resource mobilization. The session also discusses the use of innovative finance approaches and makes the case for joint HIV/TB investments.

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