At the Centre for Global Health HQ on Leinster Street South, the Irish Forum for Global Health, Concern Worldwide, Dochas and the Centre for Global Health co-hosted a feedback session on the Aids2016 conference which took place in Durban in mid-July.
Deirdre Campbell (GBV & HIV Advisor with Trocaire) talked about some of the main issues affecting women, stating that it is statistically easier for women to get infected than men. Child marriage, polygamy, stigma and economics are all gender-based factors.
Breda Gahan (Global Health & HIV Advisor with Concern Worldwide) discussed both the crisis in southern Africa and in Ireland. She talked about how many living with HIV-Aids remain undiagnosed, which is estimated at 19 million worldwide:
“Up until yesterday [28 September 2016], 390 people in Ireland – more than one a day – started the year not knowing their status and now they know that they will be on anti-retrovirals for the rest of their lives. It’s always good to know your status, but based, for example, on the criminalisation issues, there are some countries they would not be allowed to enter, to study or to work.”
She talked about how the Association of Nurses want to see an end to stigmatisation and criminalisation related to HIV-Aids.
“We’re not just nurses and midwives; we’re activists.”
Dr. Jack Lambert (Consultant at the Mater Hospital) talked about – among other things – issues related to funding. He suggested that too many resources have been put into research for cures rather than treatment. He drew the analogy to Dengue fever, which has been prevalent since the 1940s and has not yet been cured.
James O’Connor (HIV Peer Advocacy & Strategic Development Consultant) spoke about the ontological issues related to having a positive HIV status, with the belief that you won’t have long to live. He discussed both making peace with people, and overcoming these negative tendencies because we now live in a world where HIV is a manageable virus.