Prior to High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, EHRA together with other regional networks representing the communities of key populations and people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia publishing joint statement to ensure that the new Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS:
- The Declaration should not only describe the vision, priorities, policies, and plans of governments, but above all be a reflection of the needs of people and communities most affected by the HIV epidemic;
- The Declaration should not only declare a general goal of ending the HIV epidemic but set up specific and measurable targets and results in protecting the health and social well-being of people and communities most affected by HIV;
- The Declaration should include commitments and mechanisms of political and financial support for its implementation;
- The Declaration should ensure the learning and dissemination of the best experiences and lessons learned by countries and communities over the four decades of working to protect human health and well-being from the HIV epidemic.
Taking into account the needs of communities and countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, we call upon inclusion in the new Political Declaration of particular positions as stated below:
- Look at us, see us. We are gravely concerned that Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is one of the only two regions in the world where the annual rate of HIV infections continues to rise at a concerning rate among key populations.
- No one should be left behind. Nothing for us without us. List all the key populations by name to stop the existing disregard, ignorance and discrimination of key populations, ensure meaningful involvemen and improve the space for advocacy and other cooperation between governments and key populations, and for community-led monitoring.
- Chase the virus, not people! Call for decriminalization of HIV exposure and transmission, same sex behavior, drug use and possession of drugs for personal use, sex work, in EECA countries and around the world.
- Let us work. Ensure favorable legal environment, including freedom of association so that communities can freely create and register non-profit organizations, receive public and donors’ funds, and provide services aligned with the needs of our communities. Ensure fair allocation of resources for the community-led response, including community-led monitoring and peer-led evidence-based services for key populations.
- Evidence is here. Ensure implementation. Focus on implementation of evidence-based, people-centered, human rights- and community-based integrated policies, practices and services on mental health and sexual and reproductive health and HIV for key populations.
- From words to actions. Ensure transformation of commitments into fully funded actions implemented at international and national level with transparency, inclusiveness, and effectiveness.