ICW Global
ICW's greatest achievement is reaching isolated women living with HIV/AIDS and, through support, education and training, empower them to be involved in areas of service monitoring and policy development that affects their lives and the lives of their children and family. ICW has an excellent record of successful, productive and effective trainings and meetings for positive women to enable them to advocate at national, regional and international levels. ICW's collaborative work with other organisations such as the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+), the International AIDS Society (IAS), International Council of AIDS Service Organisations (ICASO), UNAIDS, and various international NGOs, has continued and expanded. ICW's work in these fora focussed attention on HIV positive women across the world.

ICW's participation in international and national conferences, meetings, and global advocacy projects is a vital part of the organisation's work. Whether as co-organisers of conferences, or as individuals representing ICW at other events, ICW continuously advocates for HIV positive women's rights and brings their concerns to national and international arenas.

Examples of global advocacy, projects, campaigns and other activities...


ICW AT UNGASS 2008 - The ICW East Africa Regional Coordinator represented ICW and ITPC on the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) for the High Level meeting on HIV & AIDS that took place in New York in June 2008 other ICW staff and members also attended this important event. Among the tasks that the Coordinator participated in were to select speakers for the HLM and the Civil Society Hearing, providing support to the speakers for the sessions on women and girls and HIV related travel restriction and also participating in drawing up a programme for the civil society hearing. At this meeting lobbying and advocating for issues that impact on women was done e.g. some of the topics during the civil society hearing were areas that ICW advocates for, for example, access to treatment for women and girls. We were privileged to have ICW speakers both at the Civil Society hearing and during the panels e.g. Violeta Ross, Jennifer Gatsi Mallet, Gcebile Ndlovu, Dr. Lydia Mungherera and many more others. ICW developed an issues paper on women and girls that was used by the speakers to develop their speeches and in addition, the copies were circulated during the HLM. ICW’s presence at the HLM was felt through the speakers, the members’ involvement at the Civil Society Hearing, caucus meetings and generally in all the sessions. ICW as an organisation needs to begin planning now for the involvement of women living with HIV in future HLM so that we are able to support more women to participate at the different levels e.g. planning meetings at the country level and ensuring ICW’s presence at all levels.

ICW SEEKS TO INFLUENCE UNAIDS GENDER GUIDANCE - Our International Advocacy Officer on ACTS, Beri Hull, attended the UNAIDS PCB meeting in April where the UNAIDS gender guidance were presented. The PCB made the decision to work on these guidelines in June 2006. Given that the PCB decision expressively called for these guidelines in response to the growing feminization of the epidemic, ICW registered our concern that in the last draft of the guidance, inequality and inequity between women and men was being conflated with discrimination against sexual minorities. In our feedback to UNAIDS we stated our belief that merging the guidelines for these two sets of populations weakens the guidance for each and thereby does a disservice to both. In addition, it ignores the core sentiment of the decisions taken at the PCB, which was to develop something that would specifically offer a tool to help alleviate the devastating impact of policies that are blind to the needs of women and girls.

ICW MEMBERS INFLUENCE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON PMTCT - On November 26-27, 2007 Governments, UN agencies, technical advisors, and civil society came together for a meeting in Johannesburg to support the scale-up of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. ICW is a member of the Interagency Task Team that organized the meeting. The outcome of the meeting was a Consensus Statement agreed upon by governments and ICW worked to help positive women participate and organize in order to influence its contents. For example, ICW and UNAIDS organized a positive women’s pre meeting where positive women discussed issues that are faced in their countries regarding the prevention of mother to child transmission and they developed points to advocate around during the meeting. Positive women attended technical pre-meetings, presentations, and made interventions after presentations. ICW member, Florence Ngobeni-Allen, spoke at the Official Opening and Welcome and her statements were mentioned by several presenters throughout the conference. Several of the positive women who attended the pre-meeting were part of official government delegations and were able to influence them to include the concerns of positive women. The Consensus Statement also reflected several of the points that positive women raised. For example it takes specific note of challenges to scaling up quality, comprehensive programmes at all levels including stigma and discrimination, insufficient follow-up care, insufficient integration of PMTCT programs within broader health programs, and the impact of gender inequality and gender-based violence.

The Global Coalition on Women and AIDS is an initiative made up of activists, government representatives, and community workers. Its efforts will focus on preventing new HIV infections among women and girls, promoting equal access to HIV care and treatment, accelerating research on microbicides, protecting women's property and inheritance rights and reducing violence against women.


ADVANCING WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP AND ADVOCACY ON HIV - This exciting initiative aims to achieve greater and more meaningful participation of women, particularly women living with HIV/AIDS, in decision-making at all levels to ensure programs, policies and funding respond to the unique impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. The initiative consists of two complementary components—the training component implemented by CEDPA and its partners, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, the International Center for Research on Women, and the National Minority AIDS Council and the small grants program implemented through the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, UNAIDS. In March, 2007, women from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean, including 11 ICW members, gathered to develop the regional training curricula. Another 20 women advocates, many of whom are ICW members, from around the world took part in the first training in Washington DC, June 2007. The focus of this first workshop was on global advocacy and ICW ran three sessions on GIPA, sexual rights and reproductive rights (outlines available).

As the programme moves into its second year, ICW and consortium partners are celebrating the completion of a third and fourth workshop pertaining to this programme. The Africa Regional Workshop, the third in this workshop series, brought together 23 women from 5 African countries – South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana – for a three-week workshop in Nairobi. Facilitators and workshop coordinators included staff from CEDPA, ICW and ICRW, and 2 Master Trainers – whose role in the programme is to ensure that the regional context and regional-specific HIV and AIDS-related issues and priorities are reflected in the programme – including ICW staffAnne Ntombela. The fourth workshop under this programme was an Africa Country workshop held in Nigeria this September. ICW took the opportunity to bring 35 ICW members from Nigeria to a meeting with participants to plan ICW activities in the country. Planning has also already started for the Asia Regional Workshop which will be held early in 2009.

TACKLING STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HIV POSITIVE PEOPLE - Over the last few years, ICW and GNP+ have been working in collaboration with the International Planned Parenthood Association (IPPF) and UNAIDS, to develop an index to measure the stigma and discrimination experienced by People Living with HIV. The People Living with HIV (PLHIV) Stigma Index is now ready for use and implementation by networks of people living with HIV around the world. It is anticipated that the Index will increase our understanding of how stigma and discrimination is experienced by HIV-positive people and that the evidence gained will contribute to shaping future programmatic interventions and policy related to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. In preparation for country level roll-out processes in other regions, the project partners have convened a series of regional workshops to introduce the Index to representatives from networks and organisations of people living with HIV from different countries within each region. The first country level implementation of the Index is currently underway in the Dominican Republic. ICW staff and members have been involved in each of these workshops, either as co-facilitators or as participants. More information available at:

GLOBAL CONSULTATION ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS OF HIV POSITIVE WOMEN AND MEN - The first global consultation led by people living with HIV to address their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 5-7 December 2007. The international group of 65 HIV-positive women, men, young people, and transgender people articulated a vision statement to guide advocacy, policy, legal, programmatic and funding priorities that respect SRH and rights, and that underscores the need for health systems to do the same. The landmark consultation, organized by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) and Young Positives with support from EngenderHealth, IPPF, UNAIDS, UNFPA and WHO, and was followed by LIVING 2008: The Positive Leadership Summit for people living with HIV, on 31 July and 1 August in Mexico City. Continued collaboration between the networks and supportive organizations will lead to a comprehensive advocacy, policy and programmatic guidance package for international, regional, and national stakeholders.


MICROBICIDES - Promise Mthembu began an involvement in this important area of work which will have a great impact on HIV positive women's sexual and reproductive lives. As a member of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, ICW has participated and presented papers on several Microbicides international meetings. ICW has successfully profiled and raised awareness of a need for Microbicides researchers, biomedical and social scientists researchers, and advocates to consider the special needs of HIV positive women in researching, developing, and advocating for Microbicides. ICW also has representation on the European and UK/Ireland branches of the Campaign.

ICW PRESENTS ITS CAMPAIGN ‘MORE PEACE LESS AIDS’ TO THE UNITED NATIONS DELEGATES OF THE LATIN AMERICAN REGION - In August 2008 Dr Jorge Arguello, Argentine Ambassador to the UN, chaired a meeting attended by ambassadors and civil servants of ten countries from the region. Representatives of the UN from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay, Mexico and Honduras met to share ideas and coordinate a common strategy on the proposal put forward by Patricia Perez of Argentina, Arely Cano of Nicaragua and Ruth Linares of Costa Rica, relating to the global campaign ‘More Peace Less AIDS’ launched by ICW Latina. Dr Arguello used this meeting to ratify his complete support of providing assistance to ICW Latina and ensuring the success of the activities outlined in the campaign ‘More Peace Less Aids’. The Peace campaign was also presented at ICW’s press conference at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico. More information in Spanish.


ICW AT LIVING 2008 - ICW is one of the partners of the Living Partnership, which organised the Living 2008 conference for people living with HIV. The conference brought together 327 people living with HIV to discuss four themes: criminalisation, sexual and reproductive rights, access to care, treatment and support, and positive prevention, over the course of two days. Having this opportunity to meet, discuss and debate helped many of us to prepare for the main International AIDS Conference. In the run up to Living, there was a pre-consultation, which ICW membersmembers' responses to the pre-consultation fed into the development of the programme and discussions at the Living, and were referred to frequently. They also fed into plenary sessions at the main conference. This was the first Living Conference in a number of years, and it made a welcome return to the conference calendar.

ICW AT THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE, MEXICO 2008 - ICW is a co-sponsor of the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. This huge conference of well over 25,000 people offered wonderful opportunities to network and spread the word about HIV positive women’s concerns. We highlighted ICW’s peace initiative at our Satellite and Press Conference - A campaign initiated by ICW Latina. Called ‘2011 – A Year of Peace as a chance to stop AIDS, the campaign has been aided by ICW International Steering Committee member and long-time AIDS advocate, Patricia Perez’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. ICW also highlighted the following issues:

* Violence Against Women - discussed at the ICW/ATHENA satellite
* Using the Law to protect HIV positive women’s rights
* Exploring why doesn’t MIPA always work for us
* Putting Women Back into the Gender debate
* Criminalisation

Many of our members spoke on these areas and others such as ACTS and SRHR in the main conference and in the Global Village. In the latter arena we helped organize and run sessions in the People Living with HIV Networking Zone with GNP+ and the Women’s Networking Zone (WNZ) with the Athena Network and other women’s rights organizations. The ICW Booth in the Global Village gave a chance for ICW members to meet, stay in touch with what is happening of interest to HIV positive women at the conference, and collect new ICW materials. Issue 42 of the Newsletter will feature highlights.

POSITIVE WOMEN'S FORUM, NAIROBI, 2007 - ICW is proud to have co-organised (with YWCA) the first day of the International Women's Summit (IWS) in Nairobi - a Positive Women's Forum for women living with HIV. Nearly 2000 women attending the IWS, up to a quarter were living with HIV and for once the voices and presence of positive women were felt by all. The PWF provided an opportunity for positive women to explore issues around young women, sexuality, participation, leadership, violence, access to care, treatment and support, economic (in)equality, gender, and the human rights of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS – including their sexual and reproductive rights. ICW also collaborated with allies Athena, Voices of positive Women, and Blueprint, to bring about the Women's Networking Zone in the “Sokoni” (market place) area, and one of a series of ‘Town Hall’ events taking place in different locations in Nairobi, which allowed for the participation of several hundred local women living with HIV who were unable to attend the conference.

The 16th International AIDS Conference - Toronto, August 2006 - ICW was again a co-sponsor of the largest international AIDS conference in the world. In Toronto, ICW was determined that the voices of HIV positive women would be heard loud and clear. Our ‘5 Key Challenges’ pinpoint the real-life stories behind the slogans – GIPA, ACTS, SRH for example - and can be found in full in ICW News 34. Issue 35 of ICW News looks back at our experiences in Toronto and highlight how we survived and what we gained.

The 15th International AIDS Conference - Bangkok, July 2004 - ICW was very visible at Bangkok, through the ICW Conference office, the ICW Booth and Media Booth, and a number of ICW events. Many of the ICW members at the conference gave media interviews. For more information see ICW News 27

11th International Conference of HIV Positive people, Kampala, Uganda, October 2003 - As well as attending many of the sessions, ICW representatives interviewed women conference participants and ran a workshop based on A Positive Woman's Survival Kit. Conference report back.


E-forum for ICW members: This started in February 2005. All ICW members with access to email are warmly invited to join. The e-forum is a useful way for ICW members around the world to share their work and to feed back on thematic issues. The e-forum discussions provide a consultation and communication mechanism for members, and feed into ICW’s policy submissions and advocacy work. Contact Carmen Tarrades if you would like to join the e-forum (

ICW News: Edited by Sue O’Sullivan. ICW News has been produced quarterly since 1996. It has proved an important tool in reducing the isolation of HIV positive women. Currently it is distributed to over 5,000 members and other organisations involved in HIV/AIDS work.

Website: We have continued to keep the website up to date with postings from ICW members, staff and trustees, and regular additions of new publications and links. The website continues to get a very high hit-rate and consistently good feedback from readers.

New and existing members: Carmen continues to process new ICW membership applications (entering information into the membership database, preparing and sending new member packs), to update membership records with change of address or other data, and to respond to letters and emails received from existing members.

Face-to-face meetings and events: Wherever possible ICW seeks to bring members together at international, regional and national events. Whether it is trying to secure support for members to attend the International AIDS Conferences or bringing together our members for regional ICW planning meetings or national skills building workshops we know that our members benefit by sharing experiences face-to-face.

ICW Global - © 2009 - 2010 - All Rights Reserved
Contact Us : [email protected]