ICW News

Training women to champion HIV treatment in western and central Africa

Women living with HIV in western and central Africa gathered in Abuja, Nigeria, from 2 to 5 November for a workshop to improve their leadership skills and ability to advocate for the ambitious 90–90–90 treatment target.

The target is that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status will be accessing antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment will have suppressed viral loads. If the target is reached by 2020, ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat is possible by 2030.

Under the umbrella of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, West Africa, the 47 participants from 16 countries enhanced their understanding of the ambitious treatment target and policies on elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

They agreed to champion the 90–90–90 treatment target in western and central Africa and to urge their governments to increase domestic funding for health, including the AIDS response, to 15% of national budgets, as recommended by the African Union in its 2001 Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases. Participants also agreed to advocate for the full engagement and representation of women living with HIV in the national planning and decision-making processes.

UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund supported the training. 

Quotes: 

We are transiting from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals and this is an opportunity for us to make our governments take treatment as a priority.
Assumpta Reginald, Regional Director, International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, West Africa

This training workshop gives women living with HIV the opportunity to understand better the 90–90–90 treatment target and the important role they have to play to achieve it.
Astou Diop, President, International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, West Africa

The voice of African women living with HIV will remain the engine that moves forward the response to AIDS and the source of a deeper social transformation to bring about gender equality, social justice, treatment and human rights for all.Bilali Camara, UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for the Economic Community for West African States

The UNAIDS regional support team and country offices will work closely with the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, West Africa, to bring the 90–90–90 treatment target within the reach of all. I am convinced that this is the only way to make this strategy work and to ensure we are on the right track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Meskerem Grunitzky Bekele, Acting Regional Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for West and Central Africa

Discussion