HIV Advocates

 

Advocacy[2.0] was a global initiative to share information, strategies and new tools to energize human rights movements and communities fighting HIV/AIDS.
Over the course of the Advocacy[2.0] project, social justice advocates were encouraged to explore the power of social media and new ways of collaboration to end HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.

This initiative was supported by Levi Strauss Foundation and powered by B-Change Foundation.

HIVAdvocates.com was their website.
Content is from the site's 2012 - 2014 archived pages.

Archived Content Is Underwritten By:

janitorial supplies wholesale
hoodie for Batman fans
Archived Content Is Underwritten By:

janitorial supplies wholesale
hoodie for Batman fans

Connect Vocalize and Amplify

 

April 6, 2014

Share your advocacy story

Share your advocacy story! Become a contributor

Register and login to the HIV Advocates website and you’ll be given access to publish your story to be shared with like-minded advocates around the world.

Use your email or existing social media account (eg. Facebook, Gmail, Open ID, Twitter, etc.) to register.

Once registered, click on “Add Content” on the service menu that will appear at the top of your browser window.

Fill in the fields on the context form with Story Title, Introduction and Full Text. Images can be uploaded to accompany your story. Video can also be uploaded to accompany your story as well.

Note: Upon submitting material on the HIV Advocates website, all registered users warrant that they have permission to reproduce/distribute any text, photographs/images and/or video uploaded to the HIV Advocates website under their account.

After you publish your story, it will be referred to the HIV Advocates team for review. You may be contacted by the HIV Advocates team to clarify any issues regarding your story.

Alternatively you can email the HIV Advocates team at editor@hivadvocates.net. The team would be happy to assist you with publishing your material.

New online resource for health and human rights advocates

Submitted by globalhealthrightson November 8, 2013 – 9:51am

Lawyers Collective, an NGO based in New Delhi and Mumbai, has recently launched the Global Health and Human Rights Database www.globalhealthrights.org) in collaboration with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington DC. The Database is a fully searchable and totally free online database of more than 1000 judgments, constitutions and international instruments on the intersection between health and human rights.

The Database is the first attempt to comprehensively make available health and human rights law from both common and civil law jurisdictions free of cost, and features case law and other legal documents from more than 80 countries and in 25 languages. It also provides 500 plain-language summaries and 200 original translations of case law previously unavailable in English. The Database has been created in collaboration with more than 100 partners from civil society, academia, and legal practice worldwide.

An official public launch of the Database was held on 24 October 2013, at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

For more information about the Database, please visit us at www.globalhealthrights.org or email contact@globalhealthrights.org. We hope that you will find the Database to be a useful resource in your work! We particularly welcome new collaborators.

 

Advocacy Stories » Search Results »

  • July 23, 2014

    Imagine a pill that neutralised hate?

    Marco Polo Yáncor (Colectivo Amigos Contra el Sida-www.amigoscontraelsida.net)

    is a Guatemalan gay man who became politically active on behalf of LGBT rights when he moved to Quezaltenango city in 2005. He describes himself as someone who can be easily identified as gay. Consequently, he was the target of stigma and bullying growing up in Guatamala. The lack of sexual orientation and gender identity protection legislation in Guatamala propelled Marco Polo to learn more about his rights as a citizen and to help empower others. As a result of his activism, his sexual identity is a matter of public knowledge to his immediate and extended family. He counts himself fortunate that he has been able to introduce his partners to his family and to participate with them in holiday celebrations like Christmas.

    Marco Polo spends a lot of his time helping to build a stronger, more unified LGBT community in Guatemala. He helps organize “noches culturales” where members of the LGBT can share talents such as singing or playing an instrument. While these get-togethers are fun and supportive, they also provide a space where people can begin to address human rights issues. When he learned about the Speaking Out training, Marco Polo was drawn to it as an opportunity to gain a broader vocabulary and tools for his political activism. He participated in the 2013 training in La Ceiba, Honduras.

    “For me, Speaking Out was an empowering experience that helps me do my activist work more confidently,” Marco Polo reports. The exercises in the workshop he attended helped him see how to claim a space for LGBT people in the public sphere. For example, because of advocacy by Marco Polo and others, language recognizing and protecting LGBT people was added to city regulations in the municipality of Quezaltenango.

    Marco Polo asserted that Speaking Out not only strengthened his character and confidence but also afforded him the opportunity to connect with a group of LGBT activists across Honduras and Central America. “By doing exercises with activists from Nicaragua and El Salvador, I recognized that we have many issues in common,” he says. The shared human rights issues across the region sparked the idea of a Central American support network of LGBT organizations. The leadership for this network would come from the region. As local activists take ownership of this process, MSMGF can continue to help support what they envision.
    Advocacy priority:
    Reducing cultural stigma

     

    Help end HIV #stopbullying, #helpendhiv
  • May 16, 2014
  • Speaking Out Advocacy in Honduras and Central America

    Marco Polo Yáncor (Colectivo Amigos Contra el Sida-is a Guatemalan gay man who became politically active on behalf of LGBT rights when he moved to Quezaltenango city in 2005. He describes himself as someone who can be easily identified as gay. Consequently, he was the target of stigma and bullying growing up in Guatamala. The lack of sexual orientation and gender identity protection legislation in Guatamala propelled Marco Polo to learn more about his rights as a citizen and to help empower others. As a result of his activism, his sexual identity is a matter of public knowledge to his immediate and extended family. He counts himself fortunate that he has been able to introduce his partners to his family and to participate with them in holiday celebrations like Christmas.

    Marco Polo spends a lot of his time helping to build a stronger, more unified LGBT community in Guatemala. He helps organize “noches culturales” where members of the LGBT can share talents such as singing or playing an instrument. While these get-togethers are fun and supportive, they also provide a space where people can begin to address human rights issues. When he learned about the Speaking Out training, Marco Polo was drawn to it as an opportunity to gain a broader vocabulary and tools for his political activism. He participated in the 2013 training in La Ceiba, Honduras.

    “For me, Speaking Out was an empowering experience that helps me do my activist work more confidently,” Marco Polo reports. The exercises in the workshop he attended helped him see how to claim a space for LGBT people in the public sphere. For example, because of advocacy by Marco Polo and others, language recognizing and protecting LGBT people was added to city regulations in the municipality of Quezaltenango.

    Marco Polo asserted that Speaking Out not only strengthened his character and confidence but also afforded him the opportunity to connect with a group of LGBT activists across Honduras and Central America. “By doing exercises with activists from Nicaragua and El Salvador, I recognized that we have many issues in common,” he says. The shared human rights issues across the region sparked the idea of a Central American support network of LGBT organizations. The leadership for this network would come from the region. As local activists take ownership of this process, MSMGF can continue to help support what they envision.
    Advocacy priority:
    Reducing cultural stigma

  • Round Table on Decriminalising Sex Work in Guyana
    May 16, 2014

    Round Table on Decriminalising Sex Work in Guyana

    By Nadia van der Linde
  • On February 2, 2014, Miriam Edwards of Guyana Sex Work Coalition, Joel Simpson of Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) and Quincy McEwan Guyana Trans United discussed the need to decriminalize sex work in the program Round Table with Janelle Persaud, aired over NCN Chanel 11.

    Sex work remains illegal in the country, rendering sex workers vulnerable as they are unable to access health care services, including HIV/AIDS services, and other state services since revealing their profession could put them at risk. Guyana Sex Work Coalition provides peer-to-peer support and training to sex workers of all genders in Guyana and the wider Caribbean region to build their knowledge and confidence to stand up for their rights. The group advocates for the protection of sex workers, beginning with the recognition of their work as work, their protection against police violence and their access to HIV prevention information and services, anti-retroviral drugs and other health services. As Miriam asserts, “Sex work is work. Sex workers want to be accepted in society as a human being.”

    Stigma, discrimination and violence increase the vulnerability of sex workers to HIV/AIDS. While health care is free in Guyana, the attitude of many health providers towards sex workers, gays, and trans persons keep the latter away from availing of existing services. One member of the Coalition was even banned from the main HIV/AIDS clinic and denied access to ARV when he sought medical attention.

    Aside from ensuring its visibility in the media, the Guyana Sex Work Coalition partners with existing health facilities including hospitals and trans health providers as a strategy to reduce stigma and discrimination against sex workers. They also equip sex workers with information on HIV and AIDS, correct and consistent use of condom and condom negotiation. The Guyana Sex Work Coalition is a partner of the Red Umbrella Fund.
    Advocacy priority:
    Reducing cultural stigma

     

  • May 15, 2014

    Speaking Out: Edwin Hernández

    Edwin Hernández (ASPIDH-Arcoiris), is a gay and transgender advocate from El Salvador. S/he participated in the Speaking Out training that took place in La Ceiba Honduras in February 2013. Edwin began her advocacy in 1995 when many from her community were dying of AIDS and violence against gay people was at a very high level. Like other participants, Edwin was impressed by the practical orientation of the Speaking Out training and the inclusion of dynamic fieldwork: “The workshop puts to the test the actual tools necessary for activism, how we could make actual changes to legislation. It was spectacular. We went out into the street and worked with others.”

    Edwin described how the Speaking Out training emphasized the need for written plans to tackle the various human rights issues faced by LGBT people in El Salvador. Written plans have facilitated a more thorough and effective response to violence directed towards gay and trans* people. S/he and other activists have been able to achieve greater visibility for the murders of LGBT people by completing a plan for documentation and denunciation in both domestic and international forums.

    Edwin has become a lot more systematic in her approach to advocacy in the wake of the Speaking Out training. For example, in the 2012 election held for parliamentary deputies, the only action taken on behalf of transgender rights was a press conference that did not garner a response from any of the political parties. In February 2014 during the presidential election, Edwin and other advocates attempted a different approach. S/he and other advocates spearheaded a thorough analysis of their approach for the promotion of transgender rights. They decided to seek a written commitment from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that transgender people would not be prevented from voting by homophobic election officials who rejected their identity papers. They orchestrated a coordinated advocacy campaign involving letter-writing and radio and television appearances. They succeeded in securing a statement defending the rights of trans* people to vote from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. This statement was broadcast nationally and no judges publicly came out against the statement – a significant step toward the human rights of trans* people in El Salvador.

    Advocates including Edwin are now seeking amendments to the electoral code at the national level to enshrine protections based on sexual and gender identity. Members of the LGBT community were official observers in the recent elections. The positive statement of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal is an encouraging sign that these efforts will ultimately be successful. Edwin summarizes what s/he learned about effective advocacy from Speaking Out: “Write a plan, describe actions, and then take them.”
    Advocacy priority:
    Reducing cultural stigma

     

  • Is Sexuality a Crime?
  • May 12, 2014

    Is Sexuality a Crime?

    The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC)’s efforts to ensure all people living with HIV access the treatment they need include focusing on key populations. ITPC is an advocacy partner in Bridging the Gaps – Health and Rights of Key Populations (hivgaps.org)– a program to achieve universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment care and support for sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs.

    Key populations often face criminalization, discrimination, stigma and other human rights violations that affect their health. Through Bridging the Gaps, ITPC has supported community-based organizations in 14 countries to advance treatment access for key populations. One of these countries is Pakistan, where HIV primarily affects key populations. Pakistan had an estimated 98,000 people living with HIV by the end of 2009, but only 5,256 PLHIV had registered in the country’s 17 ART centers by the end of 2011.

    Akber is a health and human rights activist in Karachi who works with ITPC through Bridging the Gaps, and he recently shared his thoughts on LBGT issues in his country (as originally published in HIV Gaps – http://www.hivgaps.org/blog/sexuality-crime/

    When I heard about the signing of the anti-gay law in Uganda, I felt like they were hanging my brothers without reason. This is governance without leadership; this is dictatorship. As if they were saying “leave it or die”. Is sexuality a crime? And what happens when homosexuals have a sexually transmitted infection and want to get medicine to lead a healthy life? We are all the same, made of flesh and blood; we live on earth, eat food, drink water, and breathe air.

    In the anti-gay law of Uganda, homosexual behaviour is compared to animal sex. How can a government decide to have such a law against homosexuality? For me, sexual rights are human rights. So, in short, we should ask the government of Uganda to have physical check-ups of animals, to identify homosexuality (haha). This is insane!

    In my country, Pakistan, LGBT people also face disapproval and criminalisation. Article 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code states: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment […] and shall also be liable to fine”. This article affects the health and human rights of LGBT directly and indirectly.

    Just imagine how an unmarried gay man living with HIV, or another sexually transmitted infection, feels when he wants to visit a health clinic. He might face shame, denial, self-labelling, stigma, and discrimination. This can result in lower self-esteem – leading to mental health issues, feelings of revenge, and even suicide. Who will take responsibility for his death: the government, society, you, me?

    In my country, Pakistan, LGBT people also face disapproval and criminalisation

    My organisation PMHS is playing a vital role in changing the law. We network in communities, and implement advocacy activities within society and among government officials. PMHS also has a project that gives the LGBT community easy access to health service delivery points, without discrimination. Our doctor and psychologist are trained to treat sexual transmitted infections and to offer voluntary counselling and testing, keeping in mind confidentiality in accordance with organisational and international criteria. These services are free.

    However, although Pakistan is an Islamic state, the government accepts sexual minorities. The government is not providing services themselves, but they at least give a chance to non-profit organisations to do so. Men who have sex with men can get HIV treatment and voluntary counselling and testing through non-governmental and community-led organisations. And recently the government gave jobs to transgenders, which is important because transgender people often face discrimination in the workplace. A restaurant in Lahore, ‘Andaz’, has also given jobs to transgenders, which was an eye-opening experience for me because it shows everyone has a role to play. This is what we call empowering the community

    Photo credit: Shaihryrar Alam for Aids Fonds

     

  • When the Blue Tent Encounters Human Rights
    April 23, 2014

    When the Blue Tent Encounters Human Rights

    by Ajeng Larasati and Fajar Raditya, Indonesia
  • It was a sunny afternoon when we headed to Tenda Biru (Blue Tent), an area known for its sex workers in Bekasi, West Java. A large yard serves as the entranc to Tenda Biru, followed by some alleys. On each of the alley, there are dozens of night cafes onboh sides of an alley, which comes alive from 9 pm up until sunrise at 6 am.

    Together with a few colleagues from Grapiks Foundation and the Bekasi District AIDS Commission, we entered Rindu Alam, tht claims to be one of the biggest cafes there. The hall was frowzy as the floor was not yet cleaned, the dogs were lying around asleep and there was only one ceiling fan that provides ventillation. At night, this hall turns into a bar that is filled with sex workers and customers.

    As a group, this was our first time to meet the sex workers in Tenda Biro, where we would like to assess the situation of sex workers, especially their exercise of human rights and access to social protection. After 15 minutes of waiting, one by one, the sex workers arrived at Rindu Alam. Most of the 30 or so women, some of them are quite young while others are new in Tenda Biru.

    A representative from Grapiks Foundation formally opened the meeting and introduced s. After that, Ajeng Larasati of LBH Masyarakat’s Human Rights, HIV, and Drug Policy Program facilitated the discussion, that focuse
    d on the human rights and legal concerns of sex workers. .She cited possible instances where human rights violations may occur in the lives of sex workers as they relate to employers, guests, the police and health services providers.

    One of the women shared that the police raid is rare, that it only happens around the time of Ramadhan, adding that the cafe’s security could somehow protect them from possible raids.  But as the concept and manifestations of human rights were further explained, Sarah (not her real name) revealed: “All these time, the police never gave us a warrant whenever they arrested us, though now there are less incidents of arrest.”

    Our interface with the sex workers was an eye-opener for all of us. We realized that many hardly understand their human rights.They seemed clueless when we talked about their entitlements as individuals. Instead they were pessimistic about their capacity in claiming their rights. As one sex worker pointed out: “We are just small people. We know nothing about legal and human rights issues. The [police] officers can easily fool us, and still we do nothing. We have no power.”

    Her view is not uncommon even beyond Indonesia. As the saying goes, “Indonesian law enforcement is like a knife: It is sharp downwards and blunt upwards.” But of course, we cannot remain silent when we face oppression. We will continue working to empower marginalized people including sex workers. It is a difficult task but it is not impossible. Taking the cue from John Lennon, who once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality,” there is hope for all of us to work together towards empowering marginalized people against injustice.

    *Ajeng Larasati is LBH Masyarakat’s Human Rights, HIV and Drug Policy Program Coordinator. She can be reached at alarasati@lbhmasyarakat.org. Fajar Raditya is a volunteer at LBH Masyarakat working on human rights and HIV advocacy. He can be reached at fajar_rajjaf@yahoo.com.

     

  • April 21, 2014

    “Stop using condoms as evidence” say sex workers in China

    By Alexandra van Dijk

    Prostitution is illegal in China where sex workers experience regular police raids and forced detention in rehabilitation centres. As a result, women deal with unsafe and unhealthy working conditions and lack of access to health care, including HIV prevention. The few programmes and services that actually reach sex workers in China mostly focus on addressing health concerns, especially those related to the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and HIV. “These NGOs can not relate to sex workers and their particular needs”, says Lanlan, the founder and head of Xin’ai, a community based support group for sex workers that received one of the Red Umbrella Fund’s first grants in 2012.

    After the birth of her daughter in 2000, Lanlan herself turned to sex work to support her child and aging parents. The particular needs of sex workers motivated her to start an organisation in Tianjin that provides support for their unique needs. “We conduct outreach to sex workers, providing them with occupational safety training, health training and legal training”, she says. The mission of the organisation is centred on self-confidence, self-respect, and mutual support. Since its establishment, Xin’Ai has reached over 3000 sex workers in Northern China who have experienced various kinds of violence. Job options are limited in their region and many people lack formal education.

    Sex workers work on the streest but also in massage parlours, sex shops, and through escort services. Because the whole Xin’Ai staff has a background in sex work, they know how to approach sex workers and get in touch with new sex workers through their network and mouth-to-mouth information sharing. “The government has invested a large amount of money into the HIV prevention programmes for sex workers.

    But low income sex workers usually work in secluded and scattered places where sanitation conditions are very poor and not easy to access to. Besides, not many sex workers work in the same place, usually just one to three people, thus making it difficult for CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] employees to access the low income sex workers population”, Lanlan says. A recent report by Asia Catalyst highlights that fewer sex workers are using available health services provided by NGO’s, out of fear of exposure. Many sex workers mention not using condoms, the report states, because police use condoms as evidence for sex work.

    In the name of “education” and “rescue,” large numbers of sex workers and their clients are detained for periods of six months to two years without any form of judicial oversight. During detention, the women are subjected to forced labour and compulsory testing for STI’s, while they are not informed of the results of the tests. Sex workers are even obliged to pay the costs of their incarceration. They are not given the opportunity to learn labor skills that might enhance their future job opportunities while, ironically, the detainment centres are officially called “Custody and Education Centers”. For many sex workers, the stigma surrounding sex work is daunting and the punishment is too harsh to risk exposure.

    “I am aware that I might catch a disease if not using condoms”, one sex worker who recently tested positive for syphilis tells Lanlan, “but I don’t have a choice. The clients are unwilling to wear one and there is no time to drop them once a policeman comes to you. If I get caught, there is a six month detention waiting for me, long enough for my family to know what I am doing and I couldn’t carry on living by that time”. “Xin’Ai initially focused only on HIV prevention”, Lanlan says, “but soon we realized that there were additional issues that needed to be addressed during these outreaches. For example, the refusal of some of our sisters to use condoms, because the police are using them as evidence of prostitution.

    We’ve collected cases of sex workers who got caught, and found that 19 out of 40 sex workers were punished because of condoms used as evidence.” With this realization, Xin’Ai adjusted its aims, and prioritized working with sex workers on how to work under safe conditions. “Only through putting ourselves in a sex worker’s position could we successfully perform outreaches. From then on, more female sex workers were receptive to our services.”

  • Nastia: Living life in her hands
    April 4, 2014

    Nastia: Living life in her hands

    Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on the E.V.A (Equity. Verity. Activity) website. E.V.A is a network which aims to improve the quality of life for women and families affected by HIV, drug use, TB, and hepatitis in Russia

    How did you learn about their your HIV-positive status? What was your first reaction? How did your relatives/friends react?
    I was told of my positive HIV status in the hospital. I had several operations, and was given a taken blood for HIV test. Before being the discharged, the doctor called me and said that I was diagnosed with HIV infection. I was shocked. By that time I was living for three years with my common-law husband. I knew what this disease is, but I also believed knew that it could not affect me. I do not use drugs, I live with one man. For me it was a 100% guarantee. But it turned out to be not a enough protection good enough.

    Do you face stigma because of your status from the part of physicians, friends or others?
    At first I decided that I will not tell anyone. That it is a shameful disease that should be hidden. Later I studied the information, went to the support group and understood that I can tell my loved ones about my diagnosis. The first one to know about it was my mother. She was very scared and sad. But I told revealed to her more information about this disease, and now she no longer sees it as deadly.
    Besides, I told my close friends about the diagnosis, and they, in turn, shared this information with their husbands. And if one of them, a woman with medical education, accepted the information steadfastly, but another’s the other one’s husband called me and said that we shall no longer communicate. Basically, this is the only negative experience in my life associated with the diagnosis. Later on I was telling my friends;, they were telling their friends and acquaintances. And no one condemned me. On the contrary, people were approaching me, asking about my health and HIV, how it is to live with it, what one can do in such situation. By that time I could already speak about it, I knew a lot of information. And I conducted a kind of prevention among my friends.

    What helped you to accept the diagnosis at the beginning?
    I got a lot of help from support groups and from communication with my peer counselor. Once I was registered in the AIDS Center, I immediately called the peer counselor, and she invited me to the group. I had a lot of fears, but the cozy and relaxed atmosphere helped me overcome them. I studied the information, took brochures at group meetings and in the center, was searching through the internet – and at some point I realized that I could give information too. So I began to lead the group myself and became a volunteer for primary prevention among youth. It really helps me accept the diagnosis, and understand all its nuances. Speaking about it, you learn to accept yourself with such a diagnosis.

    How did your everyday life change because of your status?
    I cannot say that my life has changed dramatically. Yes, at first, in search of a panacea, you try everything. You eat more proteins and vegetables, take some strange dietary supplements. Your mom pulls two caps on you, and you put on four pairs of socks. But it passes quickly. Yes, a healthy diet is necessary, but it is necessary for everyone. Of course, you try look after yourself more carefully, but, like any girl, I can go out in tights in winter since it is beautiful. Now I understand that the main thing is to stay away from bigotry.

    What helps you to accept your diagnosis now?
    Now the main thing that helps me to accept the diagnosis is my discordant relationship. This means that my common-law husband does not have an HIV-positive status. He knows about my positive status, and our relationship is a weighted decision. It was hard to accept, but I do not regret it. He knows everything, we talked a lot about my status. Weighing the “pros” and “cons”, we realized that HIV is not a barrier for love.

    What can you wish to the readers of this material?
    First and foremost, I wish all male and female readers to love themselves. HIV diagnosis is not a sentence, not a terrible word. It isIs a disease, with which can and should learn to live. It is not an obstacle for education, work or relationships. Everything is in your hands only, and each one of you can change this world a little for the better.

    For more women’s stories and further information on the work of E.V.A visit their website (http://en.evanetwork.ru/) or join their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/evahiv) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/eva_womensnet) pages.

    .
  • April 4, 2014

    Waiting for the Wind: A Short Film about Gay Men in Vietnam

    Directed by Hieu Tran, founder of Friends Make Film in Vietnam, Waiting for the Wind depicts the lives of two young gay men living in Ho Chi Minh City, showcasing poignant messages about love, sex, HIV, and the challenges gay men face due to stigma and discrimination in Vietnam. The film delves into family support, sex work, and access to HIV services, aiming to catalyze frank discussions about the lives of gay men in a country where most people do not see homosexuality in a positive light.

    Hieu Tran founded Friends Make Film in 2012, bringing together a local group of young gay men and straight allies who have the passion and commitment to make short films that tell stories of Vietnamese people, including the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. To make Waiting for the Wind, Hieu Tran worked with a dedicated crew of gay and straight allies to write the script, recruit the two main actors (one gay and one straight), produce the film, and release it online. Tran was motivated to write the script because he believes that gay men’s love, struggles, and experiences need to be discussed openly in Vietnam.

    The film will be screened and discussed in public fora with stakeholders, policy makers, healthcare providers, and the community at large. Tran believes that Waiting for the Wind has the potential to raise awareness and generate important dialogues about the most salient issues in the lives of gay men in Vietnam. The online response to the film has been extremely positive, with the film accumulating over 23,000 hits on youtube in the first two months since its release.

    G-Link and the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) supported the production of Waiting for the Wind as part of the Speaking Out Initiative in Vietnam. The Speaking Out Initiative is in its second year of implementation, with the mission to strengthen MSM advocacy and engagement at the local, national, and international level to end the HIV epidemic and promote MSM human rights with the Vietnamese HIV law and other social-political contexts. For more information on Speaking Out Vietnam visit: http://www.msmgf.org/index.cfm/id/346/Vietnam/

  • ‘Young Living’ in Sao Paolo goes ‘virtual’
    April 4, 2014

    ‘Young Living’ in Sao Paolo goes ‘virtual’

    Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on the E.V.A (Equity. Verity. Activity) website. E.V.A is a network which aims to improve the quality of life for women and families affected by HIV, drug use, TB, and hepatitis in Russia

    How did you learn about their your HIV-positive status? What was your first reaction? How did your relatives/friends react?
    I was told of my positive HIV status in the hospital. I had several operations, and was given a taken blood for HIV test. Before being the discharged, the doctor called me and said that I was diagnosed with HIV infection. I was shocked. By that time I was living for three years with my common-law husband. I knew what this disease is, but I also believed knew that it could not affect me. I do not use drugs, I live with one man. For me it was a 100% guarantee. But it turned out to be not a enough protection good enough.

    Do you face stigma because of your status from the part of physicians, friends or others?
    At first I decided that I will not tell anyone. That it is a shameful disease that should be hidden. Later I studied the information, went to the support group and understood that I can tell my loved ones about my diagnosis. The first one to know about it was my mother. She was very scared and sad. But I told revealed to her more information about this disease, and now she no longer sees it as deadly.
    Besides, I told my close friends about the diagnosis, and they, in turn, shared this information with their husbands. And if one of them, a woman with medical education, accepted the information steadfastly, but another’s the other one’s husband called me and said that we shall no longer communicate. Basically, this is the only negative experience in my life associated with the diagnosis. Later on I was telling my friends;, they were telling their friends and acquaintances. And no one condemned me. On the contrary, people were approaching me, asking about my health and HIV, how it is to live with it, what one can do in such situation. By that time I could already speak about it, I knew a lot of information. And I conducted a kind of prevention among my friends.

    What helped you to accept the diagnosis at the beginning?
    I got a lot of help from support groups and from communication with my peer counselor. Once I was registered in the AIDS Center, I immediately called the peer counselor, and she invited me to the group. I had a lot of fears, but the cozy and relaxed atmosphere helped me overcome them. I studied the information, took brochures at group meetings and in the center, was searching through the internet – and at some point I realized that I could give information too. So I began to lead the group myself and became a volunteer for primary prevention among youth. It really helps me accept the diagnosis, and understand all its nuances. Speaking about it, you learn to accept yourself with such a diagnosis.

    How did your everyday life change because of your status?
    I cannot say that my life has changed dramatically. Yes, at first, in search of a panacea, you try everything. You eat more proteins and vegetables, take some strange dietary supplements. Your mom pulls two caps on you, and you put on four pairs of socks. But it passes quickly. Yes, a healthy diet is necessary, but it is necessary for everyone. Of course, you try look after yourself more carefully, but, like any girl, I can go out in tights in winter since it is beautiful. Now I understand that the main thing is to stay away from bigotry.

    What helps you to accept your diagnosis now?
    Now the main thing that helps me to accept the diagnosis is my discordant relationship. This means that my common-law husband does not have an HIV-positive status. He knows about my positive status, and our relationship is a weighted decision. It was hard to accept, but I do not regret it. He knows everything, we talked a lot about my status. Weighing the “pros” and “cons”, we realized that HIV is not a barrier for love.

    What can you wish to the readers of this material?
    First and foremost, I wish all male and female readers to love themselves. HIV diagnosis is not a sentence, not a terrible word. It isIs a disease, with which can and should learn to live. It is not an obstacle for education, work or relationships. Everything is in your hands only, and each one of you can change this world a little for the better.

    For more women’s stories and further information on the work of E.V.A visit their website (http://en.evanetwork.ru/) or join their Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/evahiv) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/eva_womensnet) pages.

 



 

Summit Archive 2012

In 1983, the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) was the first corporate foundation to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Today, LSF continues to support pioneering organizations protecting the human rights of people in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the globe.

In advance of the 19th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Washington, DC in July 2012, LSF is partnered with B-Change Foundation (BCF) to strengthen connections between LSF’s HIV/AIDS community partners, social justice advocates, key decision- makers and intended beneficiaries globally.

Working closely with LSF, its community partners and other stakeholders, BCF identified current advocacy priorities globally, unearthed effective grassroots strategies and identified areas where advocates can improve their skills and capacity for greater impact.

On July 20, 2012, LSF convened community partners representing 45 organizations from 20 countries for a one-day Advocacy[2.0] Summit in Washington. The Summit was an opportunity to strengthen the network of HIV/AIDS advocates, share ideas and experiences as well as learn new skills.

After the Summit, BCF will deliver “stories from the frontline,” advocacy tools and other resources via the Advocacy[2.0] web site. This will be supported by a multi-platform web strategy (using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Sino Weibo, YouKu, etc.) creating multiple channels for community engagement and fostering participation from a new generation of advocates in the days and months after the Summit.

Summit Details:

Date: Friday July 20, 2012

Time: 9:00am-6:00pm (registration from 8.30am)

Venue: The Westin Washington, D.C. City Center (1400 M St.)

 

HIVAdvocates.net