Dramatic decrease of funding from donors for HIV and TB responses and inability or unwillingness of governments to finance such programs has devastating effects on key affected populations (KAPs) in middle-income countries (MICs) – sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, the incarcerated, migrants, and poor women and girls. If no action is taken, millions will suffer and die. Therefore, civil society advocates from around the world have come up with an Action plan to reverse destructive HIV financing trends in middle-income countries, which serves as both a call to action and a plan for coordinating communications and activities to stop this attack on people’s lives and human rights.
The plan foresees three main potential advocacy areas and activities as priorities for initial action planning: technical assistance/information provision (the Civil Society Sustainability Network), advocacy and awareness (a global solidarity campaign), and basic access to core treatment and prevention services (a “safety net” structure). It is expected that these ideas will be refined and reconceptualised and additional ideas will be introduced as the overall advocacy effort to reverse and mitigate the effects of funding withdrawals from MICs moves forward.
“Governments in MICs, which undergo the funding transition processes, tend to regard interventions for KAPs and human right aspects of HIV prevention as the lowest priority. In many countries, there are no working mechanisms, which allow for the provision of state funding to NGOs for HIV prevention activities among KAPs. In the process of transition planning and its implementation, more focus should be on ensuring the sustainability of these components of HIV response. We should advocate that donors would not withdraw their funding from countries unless the sustainability of programs for KAPs is guaranteed. That is why Eurasian Harm Reduction Network actively participated in the development of this Action plan and fully endorses it,” – comments Ivan Varentsov, Sustainability and Transition Team Advisor at EHRN.
This action plan was developed following a series of discussions held in New York, Durban and Amsterdam. For the Amsterdam meeting, held at the end of October 2016, International Civil Society Support (ICSS) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) organized a gathering of 35 advocates from around the world to discuss the need for and methods to coordinate advocacy, capacity-building and communications efforts to address the funding crisis in middle-income countries.