Inclusion of civil society in PEPFAR planning lags, sex workers call for engagement in global treatment access, WHO’s Ebola Emergency Committee issues update, and more . . . we’re reading about delayed works in progress

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NewWWRMore advocacy required for adequate inclusion of MSM in PEPFAR Processes – It’s a little more than two years ago that then U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby issued a cable to all U.S. embassy and consular posts directing them to seek, report on, and provide written responses to input from local groups representing those most affected by HIV, with the aim of gathering guidance from many of those most  knowledgeable about the epidemic in their countries. In the time since, progress toward seeking that input in a timely and usable process has lagged, giving the impression that the concept of “a seat at the table” is being taken literally — leaving out the part about participating in what happens at the table. The MSMGF blog, from the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, gives an update on a meeting MSMGF, amfAR, Health GAP, and other groups had with the present U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador about concerns surrounding the process, including failures to invite and engage community-based groups, and her commitment to integrate those concerns as the process is revised. The blog links to a compilation of the groups’ feedback and questions prepared by Health GAP.

Sex Work Digest on WHO early release guideline on ART and PrEP – On a similar note, the current issue of Sex Work Digest, a quarterly publication from the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, reports on the new World Health Organization recommendations that all people diagnosed with HIV be offered immediate antiretroviral treatment, and that those at “substantial risk” be offered pre-exposure prophylactic drugs, and notes that their input is critical to ensuring the effectiveness of biomedical interventions to control the pandemic. The digest also includes a thank you note to Amnesty International for passing its recent resolution calling for the decriminalization of sex work.

A note on Terminology – Also pertinent to the importance of civil society inclusion, a recent blog post from 76 Crimes follows the release of Human Rights Watch’s latest report on violence against sexual minorities, and links to the reports Note on Terminology. Among the points it makes is the potential for alphabet-soup abbreviations used to sum up diverse populations of people risk tokenizing them without addressing their specific needs.

WHO Statement on the 7th Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – Ebola in West Africa is not over, continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and still requires leadership, monitoring and control, the WHO committee’s latest update says. The update also recommends “States that currently implement excessive or inappropriate travel and transport measures that go beyond [the latest recommendations] should terminate such measures by end-October 2015.” One might argue for ending inappropriate measures immediately, but this is relatively fast action, in light of the agency’s lag in recognizing that the outbreak was a public health emergency for some four months after it was reported in three capital cities.

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