Two million people living with HIV (PLWH) call India home. It is the third largest population of PLWH in the world and in certain sub-groups, such as commercial sex workers, HIV prevalence remains well above the national average.
The country once had a strong core of civil society AIDS organizations that advocated on behalf of PLHW, but funding cuts and diverging priorities have eroded its influence. Now is the time to reinvigorate the civil society advocacy movement in India and lay the roadmap for the future.
As the first step in this direction, AHF and the National Coalition of PLWH in India (NCPI+) called for a three-day National Consultation of 40 PLWH community leaders from 28 states and legal and parliamentarian advocacy bodies, including Forum of Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS, Centre for Legislative Research and Advocacy on August 5-7.
“AHF India Cares felt it important to bring key stakeholders together for the first time in many years to really talk about the way forward together in the fight against HIV/AIDS in India. We were very pleased to have the full support and participation of senior parliamentarian Oscar Fernandes, as well as the senior leadership of NACO. We need them joined with the advocacy and NGO groups – together we can turn back HIV in India,” said Dr. Ratna Devi, AHF India Bureau Chief.
The meeting highlighted the need for deeper collaboration within the civil society in India to maintain the national focus on access to treatment, testing and primary prevention. This consultation will serve as a spark for further collective action on AIDS advocacy in India.
L TO R: DR. NOCHIKETA MOHANTY, COUNTRY PROGRAM MANAGER, AHF – INDIA CARES; OSCAR FERNANDEZ, SENIOR PARLIAMENTARIAN; MANOJ PARDESHI, NATIONAL COALITION OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV IN INDIA (NCPI+)
We applaud the efforts to connect people living with HIV through awareness, and recognize there is still much work to be done. Through our 20×20 campaign, our goal is to have 20 million HIV+ people around the world on treatment by the year 2020.