Men and HIV Project
Sonke Gender Justice is working closely with UNAIDS, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the MenEngage Africa alliance to increase the focus on men as well as men’s participation in HIV response efforts. Together, we recently launched the Global Platform for Action on Men in the HIV Response at the 21st International AIDS Conference, which was held in Durban, South Africa, from 18th – 22nd July 2016. The policy outlines goals to improve men’s access to, and use of, HIV wellness services and through it we will be advocating for policies and programmes to transform harmful gender norms that increase women’s and men’s vulnerabilities to HIV and AIDS.
The launch follows months of planning which began with a meeting between Sonke, MenEngage Africa partners and the leadership of the UNAIDS gender team at the 2015 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which resulted in a commitment to co-convene a global consultation on men and HIV services to address men’s low use of HIV services and the impact this has on men, women, children and public health systems.
At a follow-up meeting in December 2015, in Geneva, organised by Sonke and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), this commitment was concretised. In parallel, Sonke staff held very promising discussions with the UNAIDS Regional Support Team (RST) for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), which focuses on 21 countries and they too have committed to rolling out a regional campaign to address men’s low use of HIV services. MenEngage Africa and its partners will focus on developing a shared campaign on increasing men’s utilisation of HIV services from testing to treatment and care. The benefits of men testing for HIV, starting and sustaining treatment include, but are not limited to, suppressed HIV viral load, reduced opportunistic infections, and lower HIV infections to their partners.