Haiti civil society brief US government on AIDS needs

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Haiti civil society brief US government on AIDS needs

09 April 2010

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Functioning ARV dispensing site in Port-au-Prince after the devastating 12 of January earthquake. Credit: UNAIDS

Haitian civil society representatives visited Washington, D.C. on 6 April to mobilize political support for reconstructing the AIDS response in Haiti.

The civil society delegation, with support from UNAIDS, gave a testimony of their experiences with the earthquake and highlighted the importance of reconstructing the AIDS response with direct involvement of affected communities, especially people living with HIV. The briefing was held at Capitol Hill during a US Congressional briefing sponsored by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and attended by congressional staff, AIDS advocates and US civil society representatives.

Later that same day, the delegation from Haiti visited US Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and his colleagues from USAID. The US government team pledged its support to encourage the Haitian government to include the involvement of people living with HIV in planning the reconstruction of the AIDS response in Haiti.

On 24 March, US President Obama asked the US Congress to approve $2.8 billion as an emergency requirement for relief and reconstruction support for Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010. The request is now pending before US lawmakers who will very soon vote on the proposal.

There were an estimated 120 000 people living with HIV in Haiti before the earthquake. Most of the structural damage happened in the three departments (Ouest, Sud-Est and les Nippes) that accounted for nearly 60% of the population of people living with HIV.

Following an initial rapid assessment of the situation with the Ministry of Public Health and Population, UNAIDS released a concept note Helping Haiti rebuild its AIDS response. The report explains the current situation in Haiti and what may be required to meet the immediate and intermediate AIDS response needs.

Civil society networks of people living with HIV as well as many of the organizations providing HIV services have been affected by the earthquake and are in need to be strengthened.