Today we would like to share with you our latest news on the activities of AIDS Action Europe in the first half of the year and also our plans and upcoming activities for the second half of the year.

Meeting of the Steering Committee

In April, the Steering Committee of AAE met in Belgrade, Serbia. It was a productive meeting with discussions on profiling of AAE and our planning till AIDS 2018. We had good discussions and decisions on how to improve process efficiency between SC and office.

The SC also discussed the integrative policy approach broadly. It is agreed that the strategy of tackling all three big infectious diseases HIV, Tuberculosis and Viral Hepatitis also as mono infections makes politically and practically sense. However, strategies and practices and their implications still have to be discussed in-depths with the relevant stakeholders.

The SC and the office also met Serbian members and other stakeholders to discuss the situation in Serbia and find ways of cooperation and support. Read our full report of the stakeholders meeting here.

The HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum

At the last CSF on HIV/AIDS, which took place in Luxembourg on April 18 and 19, 2016, the discussions centred on the new policy framework after the current Action Plan will expire at the end of this year. There are two reasons why CS is advocating for a new strategy in order to renew the outdated one: the integrative approach of addressing TB and Viral Hepatitis not only as co-infections but also as mono infections and its implications as well as how the neighbouring countries should be addressed since the situation has changed tremendously with the fastest growing epidemic in the EECA countries.

Our work on the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB

The main focus of the NGO Delegation to the UNAIDS PCB has been on preparations for the High Level Meeting (HLM) in New York in June 8, 9 and 10. Furthermore, the Delegation is preparing for the upcoming PCB meeting where the thematic segment will be on the role of communities in the AIDS response. The NGO Delegation also came up with key messages to the CS Hearing and the HLM itself.

The Delegation and AAE endorsed the protest letter of ICASO on banning NGOs representing key populations from the HLM.

Update on AAE’s working groups and projects

AAE has different working groups, working to achieve our strategic objectives.

The Affordability WG met in Belgrade and had a follow-up call early May. This year AAE is planning to conduct 3 trainings on prices and affordability of medications for activists working in the field. The trainings are planned for Q3 and Q4 of 2016 in the Baltics states, EU Central and Southeast European countries and non-EU Central and Southeast European countries. If you are from those regions, the call for trainees will be out in the upcoming weeks on our website and social media.

The Community Based Voluntary Counselling and Testing (CBVCT) group is preparing a satellite event for the Glasgow Conference in October 23-26, 2016. The aim of the satellite is to show good practice of cooperation between community and other stakeholders in the field of research and testing in Europe and to show the situation with CBVCT, barriers and problems.

The coordinators of the Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT) work packages have carried out next steps on their project deliverables and met relevant stakeholders in Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

AAE is planning a Member Meeting in Berlin on Saturday, November 5 2016.

The working group decided that the first part of the meeting should focus on following questions: How can Civil Society in Europe and Central Asia be strengthened in times when the influence of CSO is pushed back at national and at European level? How can CS maintain its role to advocate for HIV policies? What should AAE’s role be to support and how passive, active or proactive should AAE be when it comes to advocacy at national level? The second day will be focusing on “AAE on its way to Amsterdam 2018” with presentations and discussions. AAE is planning to support the attendance of some of its members.  In order to select those attendees that will receive a scholarship, AAE will send out a call for abstracts that will give answers to the above mentioned questions. Out of the organisations submitting an abstract, ten will be selected and invited to the meeting and four will have the opportunity to present their ideas. The call for abstracts should be sent out by the end of June. After that a committee will select the abstracts. The meeting will take place at our offices in Berlin, Germany. We are looking forward to meeting our members and other stakeholders.