Tendayi Westerhof ARASA IAC 2016
Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition will be participating in various sessions that range from pre-conferences, plenaries, satellites, workshops, dialogues, advocacy marches. PAPWC will be participating at the Women Networking Zone and the Human Rights Zone among others. We will use the opportunities to share our experiences, network and learn best practices from others on the response to HIV, AIDS, sexual and reproductive health rights and services for women and adolescent girls. IAC must tackle issues of migration and xenophobia as this has left many people displaced. This has also resulted in disruption of treatment adherence by many people living with HIV and the most affected are women and children. IAC must come up with a plan to involve first ladies from African countries in particular Sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is most prevalent and ensure that they are part of the AIDS response. As a woman now ageing with HIV I would like to highlight that it is not easy. Whilst I agree that the focus now must be on key populations, issues of HIV and Ageing are being neglected and this group must also be included among key population. IAC must be clear on the contingent plans and how to deal with emerging issues of new epidemics such as ZIKA virus and non-communicable diseases affecting people with HIV. Being on ART has helped me a lot and my health has been good. However, there are tests like viral load, liver, and kidney function tests which I have been privileged to access but the majority of my fellow sisters and children have not been able to do so. Cost is a barrier to these tests because in my country they are not widely available. We need to advocate for quality treatment. Some people on ART have never even had a CD4 Count so the measure to check quality of health is compromised. I work with women and children in the Kadoma district. Treatment literacy in the Sanyati District area is low and with constraining funds my organization PAPWC-ZIM is unable to offer full literacy lessons. Strengthening of grassroots support systems is a requirement that has to be prioritized. I hope to learn and interact with other women on how they are managing community strengthening with dwindling or no funding. IAC must commit to the new global HIV targets, the 90 90 90 and the fourth 90 which is prevention through the prevention revolution. I expect IAC to re-inforce commitment to end AIDS in Africa by African Heads of States by demanding they commit to the 15% Abuja declaration. Our international donors must continue to prioritize HIV and AIDS funding because there is still no known cure and we need to build on the gains achieved now that a new declaration to end AIDS by 2030 was adopted at the UN. More resources to combat HIV must be channeled to developing countries and at the same time promoting domestic funding through private public partnerships.