Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

28 March 2012

Activists Protest Against Obama's PEPFAR Budget Cuts

via Plus News

Almost a thousand Swazi and South African HIV activists marched to the United States consulate in Johannesburg on 22 March 2012 to demand that the US continue supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, and safeguard funding of its President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which US President Barack Obama's latest proposed budget will cut by 12 percent.

The march organizers - a coalition of international and regional HIV organizations, including the global medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the World AIDS Campaign, and the AIDS Rights Alliance Southern Africa - also called on the British and Australian governments to join their American counterparts in kick-starting a response to solve the Global Fund's financial crisis.

Without an emergency donor meeting, the Fund - already in need of at least US$ 2 billion - will only secure additional funding at its next scheduled replenishment in 2014.

"We're not asking for charity, we are asking for social justice," said Daygan Eagar, a researcher at the South African human rights organization, Section27. "The US spends more money in one day of war than we're asking for the Global Fund."

Representatives from MSF, Section27 and the South African AIDS lobby group, Treatment Action Campaign, were to meet with consular and PEPFAR representatives to discuss their concerns.
The demonstration was also endorsed by the two million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). It followed similar protest action at US representative offices in Swaziland, according to Siphiwe Hlophe, a founder of the NGO, Swaziland for Positive Living (SWAPOL).

"If we are here, if we are laughing, it is because we are on drugs," she told the crowd. "Before the Global Fund we didn't have food, we didn't have pyschosocial support, we didn't disclose our HIV status - that all started when the Global Fund came. Look at how many of us are here today - that is the Global Fund."

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