Welcome to the 9th newsletter of Bridging the Gaps - Health and rights for key populations. 
  • Join Bridging the Gaps at the Learning Institute - Call for Applications, still some spots left! 
  • AFEW-Tajikistan is opening a HIV Rapid Testing Point 
  • Mainline and ITPC facilitate participatory research in Pakistan
  • NSWP publishes The Young Sex Workers Community Guide
  • GNP+ has a new governance and secretariat model
  • Aids Fonds Sex Work Team announces BtG Sex Worker meeting 2017.

AFEW-Tajikistan is opening a HIV Rapid Testing Point 

HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing point will be opened on December 1, 2016 in Qurghonteppa, Tajikistan. The testing point will be situated in the representative office of RPO “AFEW-Tajikistan” in Khatlon region. The official opening ceremony is supported by the Administration on public health and social protection of the population of the Hukumat of Khatlon region, and the Regional AIDS Center. During the opening, 25 representatives of governmental, international and public organizations will learn about experience of the RPO “AFEW-Tajikistan” in introducing the HIV voluntary counselling and rapid testing service.

Other news from AFEW International:

Participatory research in Pakistan to inform the innovation agenda

The HIV-epidemic in Pakistan is centralised and concentrated. HIV mainly affects people who inject drugs. In a country where drug use is widespread, but also a huge taboo, and where sexuality is not always easily discussed, the Pakistani Network for People Living with HIV and associated key populations (APLHIV) makes itself heard. Under the umbrella of APLHIV, PWUD have united themselves in a semi-independent network called the Drug User’s Network ([DUNE). 

Mainline will continue to work with APLHIV and DUNE in 2017 as part of our innovation agenda within Bridging the Gaps 2. Activities vary between raising awareness on HCV, advocating for meaningful involvement in decision making, advocacy for increased harm reduction funding and OST, and recording of human rights violation via the 24/7 helpline. 

An interesting joint activity for 2017 was kick-started in November. Under the Bridging the Gaps programme ITPC, Mainline, APLHIV and Nai Zindagi initiated participatory research. The ultimate goal of the research is to find the barriers that prevent access to ARVs for those who use drugs who are diagnosed with HIV. Furthermore, evidence will be collected on human rights violations of drug users regarding access to public health services. A group of Nai Zindagi and APLHIV staff designed the research during the training ITPC had organised. The study was implemented in 2017 and will be followed by a clear advocacy agenda. More infomration here.

Other news from Mainline:

NSWP publishes The Young Sex Workers Community Guide

This resource is a Community Guide to the policy brief on Young Sex Workers. The policy brief summarises the research on young people who sell sex including both young people who sell sex below the age of 18 and young sex workers between the ages of 18 and 29. It clearly demonstrates how the systemic discrimination, stigma, and criminalisation experienced by young people who sell sex increases their vulnerability to HIV.

You can download this 5 page here. This resource will soon be available in English, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

Other news from NSWP:

  •  #AreWeNotWomen Campaign The petition to UN Women to meaningfully engage with sex workers in the development of their policy on sex work is still online and can be signed. The #AreWeNotWomen campaign is still ongoing.
  • Sex Worker Academy Africa The call for participants to the Sex Worker Academies Africa to take place in 2017 was shared by ASWA amongst its membership and on social media platforms.

The Bridging the Gaps Learning Institute 2017 

Bridging the Gaps will hosts a three-day  “Bridging the Gaps Learning Institute” in Nairobi, Kenya in 2017. Each year the BtG Learning Institute will bring together country, regional and alliance partners of Bridging the Gaps, to learn, share and discuss on the year’s thematic area. The Learning Institute aims to strengthen SRHR and HIV related interventions through building the capacity of key population-led and -serving organisations and networks. This year’s theme:

"Nothing about us without us: Claiming health and human rights through community empowerment and meaningful involvement of key populations"

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: 25 – 27 April 2017 (3 days)
Number of scholarships: 20 scholarships (covers all expenses)
Deadline (call of application): 10th February 2017

Learn more and download the application form

GNP+ has a new governance and secretariat model

The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) has gone through an important transformation over the past two months that will better position the organization to address the ongoing global threats that key populations and people living with HIV face in this new unchartered era of economic and geopolitical uncertainty in the AIDS movement. 
Mr. Rico Gustav, GNP+'s Community Development Manager and Member of the Communities Delegation of the Global Fund, was appointed interim Executive Director of GNP+ in November 2016 and GNP+ also welcomed a number of new members to its Board. Further, a new organizational governance and secretariat model was approved by the Board during their retreat in January 2017. As such, GNP+ is now moving from a past governance model that based membership on appointment by regional network of people living with HIV, to a new model based on independent membership. Additionally, the Secretariat will decentralize and restructure, thereby reducing staff presence in Amsterdam and placing more strategic programmatic staff in implementing regions globally, hosted by our regional partner PLHIV or KP organizations.
In BtG related news, during the last quarter of 2016 and January 2017, GNP+ worked with our partners in South Africa and Tanzania on a number of key population dialogues and anti-stigma trainings with health care workers. GNP+ also hosted two community engagement webinars and spearheaded the publication of a global key population network solidarity statement in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election. Finally, GNP+ started off 2017 hosting the Y+ steering committee - a global group of young HIV positive leader's that represent key affected populations from Kenya, Nepal, Ukraine, and South Africa (etc.) - for an spirited and impactful governance and strategic planning workshop, starting off the New Year on a high note. 


Developing information materials with and for sex workers in Uganda 
After a successful pilot in Kenya in 2015, the sex work team at Aids Fonds will make a start with the development of information materials for sex workers in Uganda.  In March 2017 the sex work team will facilitate a three day material development training  in Kampala in which sex workers, health care professionals and government officials from Uganda come together and define the needs for effective information materials for sex workers, focussing on their health and rights. This inclusive approach has been proved to be very successful in Kenya, and will therefore get its sequence in Uganda and hopefully in the future in Tanzania.

Announcement BTG Sex Worker Meeting 2017

The sex work team at Aidsfonds is organising a combined Bridging the Gaps and PITCH partner meeting from 25-27 June 2017 in Amsterdam. Bridging the Gaps and PITCH partners in the sex work programme from 11 countries will join the three-day meeting to share their work and learn from colleagues. The agenda will be developed jointly with partners and focus on a range of areas of expertise connected to community empowerment, movement building, SRHR and HIV programming, countering violence and access to justice for sex workers.
The programme will include sessions and a social event open for BtG alliance partners. As soon as more information is available the team will share invitations.
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