July 24, 2014 - openDemocracy.
by Silvia Petretti
One of the key themes of this year's International AIDS conference is the centrality of involving key populations in the response to HIV, and to address many of the challenges they face, especially at a legal and policy level. The World Health Organisation defines key populations as 'men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs and sex workers. Most-at-risk populations are disproportionately affected by HIV in most, if not all, epidemic contexts.' WHO also recognises that people living with HIV have to be recognised as a key population in all HIV epidemics.
I have been going to the International AIDS Conferences since 2006 (when I was awarded a scholarship for the first time), however this year I am among the many women living with HIV who have found it extremely hard to find funds to attend. So I am watching it from afar and I value this opportunity to comment on it.
I find it puzzling that women are excluded from this definition of key populations, as women in some parts of the world represent 60% of those diagnosed with HIV. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa where we have the largest populations of individuals living with HIV in the world - nearly 18 million. Continue reading…