November 28, 2023
Today, UNAIDS released its World AIDS Day report, Let Communities Lead. This year’s focus on community leadership is especially important to all of us at AVAC as it lies at the heart of our work for our entire 28-year history. The UNAIDS report highlights what we and our partners have raised over the years—that communities face enormous barriers, community-led responses are under-recognized, under-resourced and in so many ways, under attack.
From our almost 30 years of experience in HIV prevention advocacy, it’s clear that working in solidarity with communities is imperative to address the root causes of inequity. Community-led responses are essential components of the comprehensive approach needed to end the epidemic.
At AVAC, we are incredibly proud of our history and in our collaborative work in 2023 to champion civil society and community leadership in shaping local, national and global responses.
Today, as part of #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, we ask you to consider supporting AVAC so that we and our partners can continue to deliver the effective and impactful advocacy that is described below—and is needed now more than ever.
Your support to AVAC now will ensure that we and our partners can continue putting people and communities at the center of our work, ensuring that the global response is connected to the real needs of affected people.
Advancing bold and innovative agendas for HIV prevention.
In September, the African Women’s HIV Prevention Community Accountability Board (AWCAB) launched its HIV Prevention Choice Manifesto in Kampala, Uganda. The manifesto represents a historic milestone in the power of community leadership to re-frame the global discussion around community priorities. The manifesto calls for political will and financial investment to ensure access to the prevention options that women and girls in Africa say that they want. AVAC worked closely with partners to establish this coalition and catalyze its advocacy.
Supporting communities to engage in the science of HIV and process of R&D.
The Good Participatory Practice (GPP) guidelines co-developed by AVAC and UNAIDS nearly 15 years ago have become a field-wide standard for broad and inclusive stakeholder engagement in clinical trial research. At AVAC, we train trial staff on the guidelines, support their adaptation to other fields, prepare and support advocates in applying GPP in trial communities, and engage with the research community and ethics boards to maximize their use. Our new GPP Body of Evidence, takes this a step further, offering GPP resources to advocates that demonstrate its power, show how it can be measured and replicated, and provide GPP training, tools and connection to everyone involved in the research enterprise.
Improving how, when and to whom prevention is delivered.
Developing—and delivering—a rich pipeline of options for HIV prevention must be guided by community priorities that define what products are needed and how they are delivered for impact. In a new opinion editorial published today in South Africa’s Bhekisisa, AVAC’s Wawira Nyagah and Mitchell Warren lay out essential lessons to ensure that a broad range of prevention options that people want and need are developed, tested and distributed equitably, at scale and with urgency. “The world cannot afford to squander another decade through slow, fragmented rollout of life-saving HIV prevention. With longer-lasting options now becoming available… the world could finally bend the curve of HIV—but only if investment and planning for delivery are as evidence-based, person-centered and innovative as research and development in new products.”
Supporting a robust partner network that puts prevention on national and global agendas.
Effective coordination and balanced partnerships are key to creating a policy environment, accelerating ethical product development and advocating for equitable access to emerging health solutions. AVAC partners with a global movement of advocates to bring community voices, sustained attention and greater accountability to science, policy, funding, media, health services and regulatory processes. We are proud of the skills and power-sharing and impact-oriented advocacy that has expanded and refined prevention targets, accelerated development of guidelines and reshaped policies and programs through our long-standing Advocacy Fellows program, the Coalition to build Momentum, Power, Activism, Strategy & Solidarity (COMPASS) Africa and the Coalition to Accelerate and Support Prevention Research (CASPR).
Fighting to keep community priorities at the center of global health.
The Coalition of Advocates for Global Health and Pandemic Preparedness is tracking the issues, keeping civil society informed, and developing tools and resources. These efforts are essential to advocacy for an integrated and holistic approach to pandemic preparedness, which depends on safeguarding equity and building on the success of the HIV response. As founding members of the coalition, we’ve been proud to fight for community priorities in the work of ACT-A, the Pandemic Fund, the Pandemic Accord, the UN High Level Meeting on PPPR, and the development of a medical countermeasures platform. AVAC published the Advocates Guide for PPPR in 2023 as a go-to resource on the issues.
It is a privilege to do the work that we do. Without communities pointing the way, the HIV response will flounder, and global health will go backwards. The strength and leadership of our partners and the communities in which we work is the foundation of our hope for HIV prevention and for global health equity. We thank you for your support.
Many thanks for your partnership, solidarity and support.