Corporate Leaders Must Stand up for LGBT Rights in Africa

AVAC and partners are putting public pressure on US corporations who will be meeting with African leaders during the week of August 4th in Washington DC. We are working in coalition to develop a sign-on statement that will be published in media outlets and complemented by country-based advocacy in Africa, asking US corporations that have made public commitments to human rights, including rights for LGBT individuals, ask African governments to provide the same protections for their citizens. It’s good for public health and good for business.

The text of the sign-on statement is below. An important background document, developed by the Population Council, summarizes the public health impact of these bills. PLoS Medicine has an article reinforcing these points. To sign on or get involved in ongoing work please contact us. Please note the deadline for signing on is August 1st, 2014.

Sign on statement:
Corporate Leaders Must Stand Up for LGBT rights in Africa

US companies committed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, including, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, IBM, MasterCard and Walmart, must take a stand for human rights and against stigma and homophobia, including anti-homosexuality legislation, that compromise the safety, health and lives of LGBT people throughout Africa. Each of these companies have clear policies that protect LGBT people from discrimination in the work place, and each of these multinational corporations has supported actions across the US and globally that promote non-discrimination and affirm the human and legal rights of LGBT populations.

Same-sex relations are illegal in 37 African countries. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan are in Washington this week at the US-Africa Leaders Summit discussing US investment in Africa. Both of these African leaders signed laws this year that call for imprisonment of citizens who dare to be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Under the laws, individuals who work with associations of LGBT can be prosecuted as well. The Constitutional Court of Uganda recently ruled against that country’s new anti-homosexuality law. Now is the time to urge President Museveni and these other 36 African heads of state to protect the rights of all citizens.

The CEOs of the listed companies who have investments, corporate partnerships, and often direct business with African governments including those of Uganda and Nigeria will have the opportunity to address their leaders, including Museveni and Jonathan. These companies’ leaders must use this forum to affirm their commitment to the rights and safety of their employees, customers, and broader communities by speaking out against criminalization of LGBT people, and those organizations working with them. In addition to violating human rights, anti-gay laws, policies and practices undermine progress made in combating the AIDS epidemic by further marginalizing the very populations most in need of HIV services.

As public health, human rights and HIV/AIDS advocates, we call on these leading corporations to play their role as global champions for equality—make it clear that financial investments require an environment that promotes the rights of all members of society, including sexual minorities.

Equal treatment under the law is not just good for health; it’s good for business.

Organizational Signatories:

AIDS Foundation of Chicago
AIDS Project Los Angeles
Anova Health Institute
ATHENA Network
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Centre for the Development of People
Center Stage Media Arts
Center for Health and Gender Equality
Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights Nigeria
David Kato Foundation
Futures Group
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV
HIV Justice Network
HIV Prevention Justice Alliance
House of Blahnik, Inc.
Housing Works
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
International HIV/AIDS Alliance USA
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination — Guyana
Sonke Gender Justice
Tennessee Association of People with AIDS
Total Health Empowerment and Development Initiative
Uganda Harm Reduction Network
Youth and Children Rights Shield

Individual Signatories

Angel Luis Hernández, HIV prevention community educator
Brian Kanyemba, Human rights and HIV advocate
Jacqueline Wambui Mwangi, HIV activist
Mannaseh Phiri, HIV/AIDS and sexual health rights activist
Paul Semugoma, Anova Health Institute, Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award winner

Global collaboration supports lubricant advocacy projects in Africa

AVAC, amfar, COC Netherlands and International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) are pleased to announce seven Global Lube Access Mobilisation (GLAM) awards to projects in Africa.

GLAM, an initiative of IRMA’s Project ARM (Africa for Rectal Microbicides) in collaboration with amfAR, AVAC, and COC Netherlands, promotes advocacy in support of increased access to safe, condom-compatible lubricants for all Africans who engage in anal and vaginal intercourse, including GMT (gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender individuals) and heterosexual men and women.

In response to a request for proposals widely disseminated in February 2014, GLAM partners received 36 proposals representing 17 African countries (Botswana, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). A diverse team of 20 advocates and public health professionals with an interest in lubricant access in Africa (from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Liberia, South Africa, Rwanda, Benin, Canada, Netherlands and the United States) reviewed the proposals.

Seven projects were selected for funding. These projects began in early July 2014 and will complete their efforts in December 2014. Following is a list of these projects.

Alternatives Cameroun (Douala, Cameroun)
Working in collaboration with other organizations in Douala and Yaoundé, Alternatives Cameroun plans to organize meetings and workshops with health officials and other HIV stakeholders in the country. The meetings and workshops will underscore the importance of providing safe, condom-compatible lubricant as part of comprehensive HIV and STI prevention programming. These activities support the ultimate goal of developing and securing a channel for the distribution of safe, condom-compatible lubricant throughout Cameroun.

Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights (Accra, Ghana)
Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights (CEPEHRG) will campaign to increase access, availability, and use of safe, affordable, condom-compatible lubricant by all who engage in sexual intercourse in Ghana, with special attention given to the LGBT community. The group will call for the inclusion of condom-compatible lubricant in the national essential drug list. Educational and social marketing efforts will take place at the community outreach level and through CEPEHRG’s national advocacy work.

Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation (CSMA) will convene policy advisory seminars to engage stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, legislators and members of civil society in support of three goals. One, integrate access to safe, condom-compatible lubricant in the Zimbabwe National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan. Two, advocate for inclusion of lube as a line item in the national HIV prevention budget. Three, campaign for policy and program changes to allow for the distribution of lube through the same public health distribution channels that condoms are distributed through. A policy brief on the integration of lube access into national HIV prevention policies and programs will be produced. Traditional and social media will be utilized.

Community Health Education Services & Advocacy (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Securing government leadership and commitment to amend the national condom policy and include the provision of safe, condom-compatible lubricant in public health facilities is the chief goal of Community Health Education Services & Advocacy (CHESA). The group will work to build multi-sectorial awareness of the importance of lubricant and will engage the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, health care practitioners, community based organizations, as well as members of the GMT community. The public health message will be “Condom Compatible Lubricant Reduces New HIV Infections.”

Men Against AIDS Youth Group (Kisumu, Kenya)
Men Against AIDS Youth Group (MAAYGO) seeks to increase access to safe, condom-compatible lubricants through several methods. The group will conduct a needs assessment and implement a targeted advocacy campaign in Kisumu County for the GMT community, health care workers, and policy makers. Educational workshops will be conducted with the goal of developing a cadre of lube access advocates who will work to improve government policies and programs. A print/social marketing campaign highlighting the importance of lubricant access in HIV/STI prevention programming will be launched.

New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (Lagos, Nigeria)
The strategy New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) will take to improve lubricant access in Nigeria will be to create public demand for these important products for both men and women. Advocacy will be conducted at the state and national levels to promote government investment in lube access. NHVMAS will utilize its listserv, engage the media, and conduct trainings to enhance community awareness of the importance of safe, condom-compatible lubricant in HIV/STI prevention programming.

Partners in Health Research and Development (Thika, Kenya)
The work of Partners in Health Research and Development (PHRD) will seek to improve knowledge of and access to condoms and safe, condom-compatible lubricant among key populations in Kenya. In addition, the group will undertake actions in support of the establishment of a sustainable condom and lubricant delivery system. Sensitisation sessions will be conducted for stakeholders including HIV prevention advocates, civil society coalitions, policy makers, government officials, donors, condom distributors and the media. The inclusion of safe, condom-compatible lubricant in the National Strategic Plan is one of the project’s key projected milestones.

Related materials:

Click here for the GLAM Toolkit in English in French.

The GLAM initiative supported three African projects in 2013. Click here for a GLAM PowerPoint presentation that includes information on these projects.

Click here to access the Project ARM report, On the Map: Ensuring Africa’s Place in Rectal Microbicide Research and Advocacy, published in 2012.

2015 Fellowship Deadline and Spotlight Release

We’re proud to announce the new issue of Spotlight, an annual publication highlighting the accomplishments of the AVAC Advocacy Fellows program, has been released.

If you want to be a part of the Fellows program, the application deadline is Monday, August 4. Learn more and download application materials at

Download this year’s issue of Spotlight to see what role AVAC Fellows play in shaping the ever-evolving landscape of HIV prevention. Coverage includes:

  • A review of key activities at AVAC’s 2014 Annual Advocacy Partners Forum and Fellows Wrap-Up & Orientation Workshop
  • An introduction to 2014 Advocacy Fellows
  • A look at Fellows’ work on LGBT advocacy
  • An analysis of how Fellowship applicants’ areas of interest have changed over the past five years
  • Updates on what Alumni Fellows are doing today
  • Reflections on the best part of being an Advocacy Fellow
  • A Memorial tribute to 2013 Fellow Taiwo Oyelakin

Prospective applicants or host organizations who want to learn more about the Fellowship program or have questions about the 2015 application process are encouraged to:

If you have any questions about the Fellowship program or the application process, please email

Therapeutic HIV Vaccines: Prior setbacks, current advances and future prospects

Getting into a taxi in any country and ask the driver about the AIDS epidemic is a great way to learn about local views and priorities—and to gauge what news has grabbed the popular imagination. From a decidedly unscientific survey, we’ve found that the notion of a cure for AIDS has dominated taxi discourse—and conversations in many other places—for much of the past year. One of the stories that seized attention of drivers, advocates and scientists was that of the “Mississippi baby”—an infant who was treated after birth with highly active antiretroviral therapy and was then lost to follow up. When she returned to medical care, she had no detectable virus in her blood—and it was thought that she might be cured of HIV.

Recently, there’s been disappointing news of a reversal in this case. Doctors have now detected HIV in the child’s blood for the first time in the two years that she spent without taking antiretrovirals. The fact that the child spent that much time off treatment with no detectable virus is intriguing, since it suggests that she was effectively controlling the virus via immune responses. The fact that the virus returned underscores how far we may have to travel to get to a cure. Treatment Action Group’s Richard Jefferys has an excellent blog post summarizing knowns and unknowns around these developments.

For a look beyond the headlines at the agenda, funding needs and challenges related to cure and therapeutic vaccine research, check out a recent article by AVAC, the Treatment Action Group, and the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. This piece builds on the discussions at a workshop on therapeutic vaccines that the groups held together in September 2013 and which included over 100 researchers, funders and advocates to discuss current issues in therapeutic HIV vaccine research and development.

Therapeutic vaccines are tools that aim to help people with HIV control the virus through enhanced HIV-specific immune responses. No such vaccine exists but in theory it could improve treatment efficacy or perhaps, some day, eliminate the need for ART.

Therapeutic vaccines have become a hot topic in cure conversations, too. It’s clear that HIV lurks in dormant, non-replicating cells and that these reservoirs need to be eliminated for an effective cure. Cure research is exploring a variety of one-two punch combinations that would flush out these reservoirs and then neutralize the remaining virus. A therapeutic vaccine could be an ideal tool for the second step in this process.

As the recent paper describes, research and investment into therapeutic vaccines has languished in the past few years. The paper suggests that there is a way to revamp and refocus the current pipeline of candidates to target immune responses not found in natural infection or targeted in previous studies. The paper notes that strategies to enhance vaccine responses in the therapeutic context should develop separately from work on preventive vaccines—but that the two fields should be in close communication to maximize synergies.

Unfortunately, when there’s a setback like the viral rebound in the Mississippi baby case, this too makes headlines and can turn “taxi talk” to despairing statements about how we won’t ever vanquish the virus. The truth is that we don’t yet know whether therapeutic vaccines can be developed to effectively control ART—and we don’t know whether a cure will be possible. But it’s important to move forward with sustained and energized research. There are clues to follow and uncertainty is unavoidable. At a moment like this one, when the headlines are reporting disappointing news, it’s especially important for advocates to help convey the necessity of moving forward.

A Prevention Agenda for Women

Thirty-plus years into the epidemic, there is extensive evidence that integrating family planning services and HIV prevention and treatment isn’t just a good idea, it is the only effective approach to women’s health. The notion that a woman should choose a family planning method in one clinic, and then go someplace else for a conversation about her HIV risk or status and related needs is unsustainable. And yet, there’s extensive work to be done to create a world where the same clinic or conversation encompasses sexual health, pleasure, family planning decisions, HIV risk and/or treatment—as well as gender-based violence, which is rampant and left out of both family planning and HIV conversations.

This week, in Melbourne, women are continuing to carry forward this work—including raising many of the issues highlighted in this report. These conversations are infused with mourning and urgency after the loss of several champions of an effective response to the epidemic and to women’s needs on the Malaysia air flight that was shot down just before the conference began. You can read women’s voices—including AVAC program director Emily Bass and a call to action on microbicide research from Zena Stein and Ida Susser—in the first issue of Mujeres Adalantes, the newsletter of the Women’s Networking Zone at the conference. And you can hear long-time advocate Lydia Mungherera deliver her impassioned and eloquent plenary in the webcasts section of the IAC official website.

Shortly before the conference in Melbourne began, CHANGE released the report from a meeting, cosponsored with AVAC, on “coordinated global advocacy” on family planning and HIV. This report summarizes the key recommendations related to integration of HIV and family planning services, how to best move forward in the context of uncertainty about whether some hormonal contraceptives (HC) increase HIV risk, and how to advance “method mix”—a wider array of contraceptive choices for women everywhere.

In the year since the meeting, advocates have been working to put many of these recommendations into action. An ad-hoc group of HIV and sexual and reproductive health advocates, led by African women’s groups, continues to push for clarity from the family planning community, normative agencies and researchers on how questions about HC and HIV will be addressed. There’s been a lot of activity, if not a lot of clarity. The proposed ECHO trial which would evaluate the impact of several hormonal contraceptive options on HIV risk scaled back its design from four arms to three after failing to raise the funds for the original design. Coordinated outreach by several members of the ad-hoc coalition to members of the FP2020 Rights and Empowerment Working Group has opened up a channel for discussing these issues with an entity that has an international profile and convening power. We will be watching and waiting to see how these types of conversations unfolds in Melbourne and beyond.

More men say “yes” to PrEP in a post-trial access study

Data presented today at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne and published simultaneously in the Lancet provides the first clear evidence for who wants PrEP—and how they use it outside of the United States.

While PrEP demand and demonstration projects have gathered steady momentum in the United States, the pace has been far slower in other parts of the world—including countries where some of the original trials happened. In the absence of evidence that people want and will use PrEP, there’s been plenty of debate about the viability of this strategy, particular in low- and middle-income settings.

The new data from the iPrEX Open Label Extension study (iPrEX OLE) are a welcome antidote to this skepticism. The study was open to iPrEx participants who remained HIV negative at the end of the blinded, randomized trial, as well as HIV-negative participants from two smaller safety studies. Participants were offered the chance to take daily oral tenofovir-based PrEP. Participants could also decline and remain enrolled, receiving the same counseling and care. The participants were gay men and other men who have sex with men and transgender women from Latin America, the US and South Africa. For much of the study, participants attended clinic visits every two months—less frequently than the monthly visits that were standard in the efficacy trials to date, including iPrEx.

There is much to learn from these data, and AVAC will be working with partners in the coming weeks to discuss the implications and findings in greater detail. For now, here are some key findings:

  • Uptake of PrEP was higher among OLE participants than it has been in the general population of gay men, MSM and transgender women. This suggests that when people are informed—as these former trial participants were—of efficacy and safety of daily oral PrEP, they are more likely to use it. There’s a lot of work to be done to build awareness and demand in many countries—especially since the argument that “there’s low demand, so why roll it out?” is being used to justify a slow pace of oral PrEP roll out in many settings where it could reduce infections.
  • PrEP works if you take it. This isn’t news but the study confirms it. In OLE, as with every other efficacy trial, people who had detectable drug in their blood—indicating that they had taken one or more PrEP doses—had less risk of HIV than those who did not. As with the original adherence/efficacy data, OLE calculated the risk at a given study visit, rather than in individuals over time. For example, the study is able to draw conclusions about the probability that someone with drug level “x” in their blood at a given study visit would test HIV positive at that visit. Higher drug levels means more protection. OLE also analyzed levels of protection based on levels corresponding to more-or-less daily dosing, compared with more infrequent dosing. Not surprisingly, more frequent dosing led to more protection. But even infrequent dosing reduced risk compared to people who weren’t taking PrEP at all. Overall, PrEP use was associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk of HIV compared to people in OLE who weren’t taking PrEP—and to HIV rates in participants in previous trials.
  • People at higher risk of HIV were more likely to choose to take PrEP and more likely to take PrEP consistently over time. The study authors write, “Such preferential use of PrEP during times of greater risk is expected to increase the effect and cost effectiveness of PrEP services, and shows people’s capacity to recognize and respond appropriately to risks when given attractive options.” We couldn’t say it any better.
  • Blood levels of tenofovir diphosphate (the active form of tenofovir-based PrEP) weren’t as high in transgender women, so protection also wasn’t as high. There is an urgent need to gather more data on how PrEP is used in transgender women, how tenofovir-based drugs interact with exogenous hormones, and how this strategy can be adapted for use by a population with soaring rates of HIV infection.

These are some basic top-line messages. Please subscribe to our Advocates’ Network and visit for more in-depth information and analysis in the weeks to come.

New momentum on PrEP, but critical needs are overlooked

Originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new comprehensive guidelines for addressing HIV/AIDS in so-called “key populations” — the current global health lingo for often-marginalized populations that are heavily affected by the AIDS epidemic including gay men and other men who have sex with men, people in prison, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender people.

While the guidance had a number of new recommendations, the one that has received — and deserves — the most attention is the recommendation that gay men and other MSM be offered the option of oral PrEP (the use of a daily medication to reduce risk of HIV infection) as part of comprehensive HIV prevention services. It’s the first time that this new strategy has received an unqualified endorsement from WHO, and it is a most welcome development!

Unfortunately, it also highlights the work that global health agencies and funders have, to date, left undone to make the world a place where such a recommendation could be put into practice. It also risks limiting PrEP’s future impact. By inadvertently reinforcing perceptions that this option is just for gay men, the recommendation could slow efforts to deliver it to others, including millions of heterosexual women at risk for HIV.

These new WHO recommendations come two years after that agency issued guidance on PrEP demonstration projects in low-resource settings, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of daily Truvada as PrEP in the US.

The 2012 WHO guidance and FDA approval opened a new chapter in the global rollout of this effective prevention strategy, and they sent a critical message: PrEP is real, it works, and it should be made available now. The 2014 WHO recommendation on PrEP for MSM reinforces that message, and that is a good thing.

But PrEP is an option for many people, not only for gay men. (It isn’t for everybody, of course, but that is a decision to be made by individuals and their health providers.) Global health leaders should be working, now, to develop and fund programs to provide access for anyone who can benefit. Oral PrEP should be integrated into comprehensive, high-impact prevention programs for all people at risk internationally, with particular attention to key populations but also for young women and married women who continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic.

WHO needs to quickly issue guidance on PrEP for all of the populations that can benefit. The data are strong enough to warrant this move, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently showed with its guidance that recommended that doctors consider oral PrEP for anyone at high risk of HIV infection. State and local health agencies, including in New York State, are currently conducting demonstration studies to figure out how best to get PrEP to those who need it.

Public health history tells us that a broad recommendation can actually help ensure that specific populations get access. When the hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in 1986, it was recommended only for specific populations, which ended up stigmatized the intervention. It wasn’t until it was repositioned as being a health tool for the general population that it took off.

This lesson should be borne in mind, particularly in light of the homophobic climates in many African countries with high rates of new infections in MSM, women and youth. If PrEP is viewed mainly as an option for MSM, country authorities could be resistant to providing access for anyone.

The scientific evidence of PrEP is as strong in other populations, including heterosexual women and men, and people who inject drugs. Clinical trials in multiple countries have shown that people who consistently take PrEP with oral TDF alone or in combination with emtricitabine (FTC), also known as Truvada, can reduce their risk of becoming HIV-infected by 90 percent or more.

Here in the United States, PrEP is gaining momentum, as are efforts to begin to deliver PrEP to all of the populations that can benefit.. And while gay men have been the most vocal users of PrEP so far, others are beginning to benefit. The poignant accounts by PrEP users and providers at and just this week on the cover story of New York magazine offer hope that this new strategy will save and improve many lives, just as researchers and advocates have long hoped.

If the rest of the world follows America’s lead, PrEP could become an important global health success story. It is already being rolled out faster than earlier public health advances, from vaccines to tampons, oral contraceptive pills and the female condom — many of which took decades to get into the field. To realize PrEP’s potential, several specific things need to happen now.

In addition to expanded WHO guidance, Gilead Sciences Inc., the maker of Truvada, needs to move swiftly to secure regulatory approval in countries where PrEP is most needed. This starts with the countries that hosted clinical trials, where, tragically, PrEP is now out of reach. In two of those countries, South Africa and Thailand, Gilead recently filed for approval. This is an important and welcome step but the process needs to happen much faster and in more places. That requires both more aggressive efforts by Gilead and the willingness of national regulatory authorities to quickly review and approve the company’s applications.

Global health programs, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund, need to help countries design PrEP programs that meet the needs of their populations. A key part of this process is to launch large-scale demonstration studies in a wide range of countries and populations. Those studies can help planners understand how best to target PrEP to the people who need it most, and how to address key challenges like ensuring that people adhere to their daily medications. But so far, few of these studies outside the US have been launched or even planned.

Finally, global funders need to put substantial resources into well-planned PrEP programs. In particular, PEPFAR and the Global Fund should make sure that PrEP is not squeezed out by other funding priorities. National health authorities, who are increasingly and importantly taking ownership of their HIV prevention funding, also need to ensure a place for this intervention.

PrEP is not the perfect or only solution to the global AIDS epidemic — in fact, there is not, and never will be, such a silver bullet. We need integrated and sustained combination prevention and treatment programs. And oral PrEP as an option for all people at risk must be part of that. For the millions of people who stand to benefit from oral PrEP, let’s treat it like the advance and opportunity that it is.

New report highlights that declining investment could slow research and rollout of new HIV prevention options

The HIV Vaccines & Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group (RTWG) released its annual report on the state of HIV prevention research funding.

Click here for a press release detailing key findings.

The report, HIV Prevention Research & Development Investment in 2013: In a changing global development, economic and human rights landscape, is the 10th annual update from the RTWG, which is led by AVAC in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and UNAIDS.

The Report tracks spending on HIV vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment as prevention, voluntary medical male circumcision, female condoms and prevention of vertical transmission. This year’s report also provides an update on investment in HIV cure, therapeutic vaccine, multipurpose prevention technology and HSV-2 research.

The RTWG has prepared a range of resources to help advocates understand and use the information it contains. One key finding is that there has been a decline in investment from 2012—advocacy is needed to ensure that support for research is sustained.

Specifically, the Report shows that investment in HIV prevention research fell 4 percent in 2013, due to a combination of factors including declining investments by the United States and European donors, changes in the international development landscape and changes in the pipeline of HIV prevention products being tested. In 2013, total investment in prevention research was US $1.26 billion, down US$50 million from 2012.

The full report, a one-page overview of the findings and downloadable graphics are all available at You can also view previous years’ reports. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.

Px Wire: Making sense of the AIDS Conference, updated PrEP guidelines and contraceptive research

This latest issue of Px Wire comes out on the eve of the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia—and we begin with “AVAC’s Take” on key messages and commitments to look for at and after the meeting. The bottom line: turn talk into action.

 This means building on the recent UNAIDS definition of what ending AIDS means and when it should happen, and it means getting specific about how to turn guidelines into public health programs for impact.

Click here to download.

As Px Wire went to press, the World Health Organization launched new comprehensive guidance for HIV prevention and treatment for key populations. This includes a strong recommendation for offering oral PrEP in programs for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). This development drew headlines and has the potential to expand access to strategic prevention for individuals who need it most. But as we note in our “Data Dispatch”, there are still only two demonstration projects ongoing in Africa—one of the geographies where gay men and other MSM have high rates of HIV—usually in the context of low levels of services and human rights protections. Without a clear plan for a suite of projects that answer key questions about PrEP in MSM as well as other populations who can benefit from PrEP, the new WHO guidance will not have the impact it should.

Px Wire also provides an update on the proposed ECHO trial, which seeks to measure the impact of different family planning methods on women’s risk of HIV. Originally set to test four contraceptive methods, the most recent trial protocol has just three arms—a change that reflects challenges fundraising for this research.

Our centerspread, features our redesigned website—including searchable databases, an infographics galley and our new blog, P-Values.

AVAC Fellow Maureen Milanga pushes for increased funding for ARVs

With new guidelines in place calling for earlier access to antiretrovirals for HIV treatment, many more Kenyans are eligible for the drugs. Activists, including AVAC Fellow Maureen Milanga argue that the current budget for treatment falls short.

“The Government must expand its domestic funding this financial year to close the treatment gap and begin to end Kenya’s AIDS epidemic,” said Maureen Milanga arguing for more than doubling the current domestic financing for treatment.

Read more here.