Our communities have been fairly successful at martialling our energies to profile the needs of people living with HIV. These energies were based on the early Denver Principles that initiated the term ‘people living with HIV’ and also on the principle of the Greater Involvement of People living with AIDS.
Over three decades later, with significant evolution in the HIV epidemic as well as HIV sciences, can we now martial and expand our energies to more effectively include other affected populations and the obstacles they face to HIV services? This was the challenge of today’s symposium at the Paris City Hall on ‘Bringing key populations back to the centre of HIV’.
The symposium included people living with HIV as well as sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people, community actors and HIV activists. We were reminded by Dr Bernard Jommier, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Health, that in 2014, mayors around the world came to Paris to sign on to their Paris Declaration to commit to end AIDS as a public health threat in their cities by 2030. Our symposium today was to be a key preparatory step in the publication tomorrow of our civil society ‘Paris Community Declaration’.
We discussed what would be involved in implementing our Community Declaration which is addressed to international organisations, political leaders and governments, the scientific community, the medical community, pharmaceutical companies, donors, and our own communities. We acknowledged that just as we expect governments to track how effectively they actually deliver on their declarations, we need to set up systems of accountability to track progress on our Community Declaration. We need to make sure there is high profile and wide buy-in. And we need leadership to make all this happen, starting with the organisations that initiated this process and including those who have since signed on.
In one year, at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, we will have the first chance to report in on the progress on our Paris Community Declaration.
Bryan Teixeira – Paris, 22/07/2017