Advocacy

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The ABC

ADVOCACY
July 26th, 2013

Originally, to advocate meant to stand up in court to make a plea to defend the rights of a particular party.

Today, advocacy often refers to a discourse developed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to defend the rights of people who are unable to defend themselves in the face of powerful institutions (governments, international corporations, big property owners, etc.) pursuing their own interests.

The objective of advocacy is usually to defend the rights, and improve the living conditions and well-being of society’s most disadvantaged, people living in extreme poverty, oppressed minorities, people living with disease, and those who are marginalized and rejected.

Through the power of the advocacy and public testimony, NGOs seek to win in the court of public opinion, the only place where the policies of large corporations and powerful leaders can be influenced. Advocacy work encourages the emergence of a global conscience.

Source : entre’AIDES – #31

Pregnancy and HIV

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PREGNANCY AND HIV
July 26th, 2013

Now that you’re pregnant, are you planning to continue working in the field of HIV?” Countless future mothers working in the area of HIV/AIDS have heard this question. It seems that some prejudices about HIV are more tenacious than others. In particular, there’s something about pregnancy and HIV that sticks in the collective imagination. The same holds true for HIV-positive women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. They are faced with incomprehension, pity, and even a wholly negative attitude from the people around them, or society in general. Moreover, access to sexual and reproductive health services remains a path fraught with roadblocks for these women.

We need to remember a few key facts:

1. Whether you are pregnant, a senior citizen, a child, or anyone else; whether you like heavy metal, pop, or classical music; whether you drink Red Bull, tea, or coffee, you cannot contract HIV just because you work, study, drink, or go to concerts with a person who is HIV-positive.

2. You can be pregnant and HIV-positive (and glowing!). With adequate health services, the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby is less than 2%.

3. With the treatments available today, the life expectancy of HIV-positive people and HIV-negative people is comparable: HIV-positive moms and dads will have plenty of time to live through temper tantrums in supermarkets, teenaged rebellions, and basements being taken over by friends on hockey nights, thank you very much.

In short, to all future mothers, HIV-positive or negative: CONGRATULATIONS! Lets hope our kids eat all their broccoli and grow up surrounded by a little less prejudice against HIV than their parents’ generation.

Source (in French): jesuisseropositif.org

The rubber brigade : prevention by and for youth

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LES BRIGADES CAOUTCHOUC – THE RUBBER BRIGADE:
PREVENTION BY AND FOR YOUTH
July 26th, 2013

The « Rubber Brigade » project, organized by
MIELS-Québec, member of the Fqsida, is a unique way for young people in the national capital region to make a difference in their area through the promotion of safer sex and the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted blood borne infections (STBBI).

There are many stumbling blocks to a discussion of sexuality. Whether it’s embarrassment, lack of information, or the absence of people to turn to, many young people develop a misinformed idea about sexuality. Because it’s not enough to know how sex works. It’s important to know and adopt safer sexual practices, in order to stay healthy, prevent STBBIs and avoid unplanned pregnancies. There are also barriers preventing young people from using condoms; either lack of information, peer pressure, lack of money, the absence of condom distributors or discomfort with buying them.

The “Rubber Brigade” project, empowers groups of young people to distribute basic information and refer peers to sources of information related to sexual health, as well as the prevention of STBBIs and HIV, sexual orientation, contraception, pregnancy, respectful sexual relations and the prevention of juvenile prostitution.  These young people have prevention at heart, and want to make a difference in their communities. Their mission is to share information on sexual health, and encourage access to condoms in places where young people hang out. They spread awareness among their peers, to help them have safe, fulfilling sex when the time comes for them to be sexually active.

This year a new part of the project was launched: young people wishing to form a brigade have been invited to participate in the “Rubber Brigades take action” contest, where they will develop a prevention project for sexual health in their community. The winning brigade will receive a $500 prize.

Nearly 25 young members of the Rubber Brigades presented their projects in front of 50 health, education and community organization representatives. Discover all six creative and dynamic projects online at labrigade.org.

The “Rubber Brigades take action” contest will start up again in September 2013.

For more information (in French): labrigade.org

Marocco – National HIV testing day, organized by ALCS, a recipient organization of Fqsida

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– MOROCCO –
NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY, ORGANIZED BY ALCS,
A RECIPIENT ORGANIZATION OF FQSIDA
July 26th, 2013

P36a_CRM1According to UNAIDS estimates (2011), more than 70,000 people are currently living with HIV on Canadian ground, out of a population of nearly 35 million. To make an international comparison, still using UNAIDS as a source, there are half as many people living with HIV in Morocco; about 30,000 in a country that numbers 33 million people. Does this mean that our friends in Morocco are better informed than Canadians about HIV vectors, and so are better able to protect themselves? Nothing could be less certain.

In reality, one of the main explanations for this significant discrepancy is as simple as it is disturbing: Moroccan estimates are not reliable, since there is far less screening done in Morocco than in Canada due to a lack of financial and human resources. So, while 75% of HIV-positive people in Canada are aware of their HIV status and are therefore able to take their health in hand and break the cycle of new infections by using effective prevention measures, in Morocco, less than 20% of the total estimated number of HIV-positive people have been officially diagnosed. This means that the new cases of HIV infection counted worldwide each year are essentially the toxic fruits of a hidden epidemic.

Driven by this alarming observation, ALCS, a founding member of Coalition PLUS, has organized National HIV Testing Day every year for the past seven years, in close collaboration with the Moroccan ministry of health. The 2013 edition of this large-scale event, launched June 1st in Agadir in partnership with the National Council on the Rights of Man, is being carried out at 83 sites this year, spread over 60 cities and villages across the kingdom. In the end, more than 10,000 tests were done in a single day in ALCS testing centres and those of partner organizations. Testing was overseen by 90 consulting doctors, and supported by 400 volunteers.