“Stronger together” is the title of this proposal of AIDS Action Europe (AAE), a network of 415 NGOs, national networks, AIDS service organisations, and community based groups in 47 countries in the WHO European Region. The motto reflects the objective of AAE to join efforts, not only within the network but also with other stakeholders and partners in the response to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. In April 2017, the AAE Steering Committee decided to change its mission statement: The integrative approach, addressing not only HIV/AIDS but also tuberculosis and viral hepatitis as mono-infections, echoes the decision to use synergies and avoid duplications wherever and whenever possible. This applies in particular for key populations who are especially affected by and vulnerable to the three epidemics.
But “Stronger together” also stands for maintaining and improving collaboration and communication between partners in the 3rd Health programme in the field of HIV/AIDS, TB and viral hepatitis as well as for ensuring sustainability of materials and deliverables developed within the programme.
Considering the epidemiological background of the three diseases and AAE’s mission, vision and strategy and after consulting AAE Members and partners, the following six core thematic areas were identified to focus on in the upcoming four years:
- Community based voluntary counselling and testing (CBVCT)
- Affordability and accessibility to medicines
- Tackling legal barriers in the response to HIV, TB and hepatitis
- Criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
- Tackling stigma and discrimination
The three main objectives of the work are
- advocacy to strengthen Civil Society’s response to the three epidemics,
- providing platforms to communicate and facilitate collaboration, networking, and linking and learning
- and continuous improvement of network collaboration.