Friday's Daily Download from IAC
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Daily Download from AIDS2016: Friday 22 July

Dear friends, 
As the International AIDS Conference draws to a close, we'd like to celebrate the success and achievements of our many partners, allies, and advocates working to ensure an HIV response that bridges beyond the HIV movement to advance women's human rights, health, and safety. We are so glad to have been a part of shaping this agenda, and worked throughout each plenary, panel and workshop to push forward our key advocacy priorities:

1. Meaningful and sustained investment in women-led civil society
2. A research agenda that is driven and led by women
3. Gender equality, human rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights for ALL women in all our diversity
4. Young women's leadership
5. Comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly services 

We see an urgent need to re-politicize HIV, to make explicit links across women's access to sexual and reproductive health and rights; autonomy and control over our bodies;  freedom from violence, stigma and discrimination; access to education, including comprehensive sex education; and HIV prevention, treatment, and support services. The science and epidemiological data presented in Durban cannot be ignored: women and young women are at the center of the HIV epidemic, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IAC presents a pinnacle moment for research, community, government and institutions to unify efforts in curbing the HIV epidemic, and while we celebrate the renewed global attention to women, girls and gender equality across international agendas, we simultaneously see a steady shrinking of civil society, especially women-led civil society. The very leaders, entities, movements and networks that have carried the HIV response on their backs and brought this timely spotlight forward are now closing down, moving away from HIV, or struggling to stay afloat. Grassroots programs and initiatives - proven to be the most effective, to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized, to be able to translate global commitments into realities - face inconsistent funding as investments are funneled toward entities that can manage multi-million dollar grants. PEPFAR and the DREAMS initiative have taken a bold step forward in addressing this, by prioritizing community-based organizations as partners in implementation. We look forward to bringing the LEARN project to life later this year along with ICW Eastern Africa, PIPE and Access Chapter 2, and hope that this sets a standard for future investments in the HIV response. 

Link Up Celebrates Three Years of Success
Durban provided an opportunity to showcase the work of the Link Up project as the project comes to an official close in July. Youth advocates from Bangladesh, Myanmar Burundi and Uganda came together in Durban to present their work and say what Link Up has meant to them (sadly, young people from Ethiopia were not able to secure a visa to attend). Over the last three years of the project, Link Up has reached nearly 1 million young people living with and most affected by HIV.
The many avenues of AIDS2016 provided the perfect platform for the Link Up ‘stars’ to shine a light on how to recognise and support the role young people have to play in the HIV response, including young people-led service provision, community- and clinic- based peer education, communications and media, advocacy and mentoring, and research. In addition to launching three new issue briefs on PrEP, Self testing and Adolescent treatment and care, and the new “Aiming High” film on youth engagement, the Link Up Satellite was an opportunity to share the full Link Up package of youth-developed tools.
A key highlight of the conference was the acceptance of the Red Ribbon Award by Link Up partner in Burundi, Réseau National des Jeunes Vivant avec le VIH / RNJ+ (the Burundian network of young people living with HIV). Through Link Up, RNJ+ has been able to open a peer-led youth centre in Bujumbura, providing sexual and reproductive services to young people living with HIV and also giving particular attention to young people from key populations (people who identify as LGBTI), people who engage in sex work, and young people living with HIV. The centre has remained open despite the hostile and unstable political situation that has affected Burundi over the past few years, and the network continues to thrive, building partnerships, representing young people living with HIV and from key affected populations on Burundi’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, and supporting members in local, national and global advocacy work.
ATHENA is so proud to have been able to partner with and support RNJ+, and to have been a global partner in the Link Up project consortium since 2013. 
We have loved watching youth leaders emerge, grow and shine. We wish all our Link Up youth advocates a safe journey home and can’t wait to see what they do next.  Chan Chan, Myo, Rawnak, Nadia, Imen, Mona, Claudia, Ollie-Frank, Donavine, Christine, Brenda, Shadia, Jacquelyne, Nicholas, Allen, Robinah, Mariam, Brant, Sharifah, Chris, Brian and Resty– and the many more who could not be with us in Durban -- we congratulate you on bringing Link Up to the global stage, and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your passion and commitment.

Capacity building for leadership on Gender Based Violence: A Participatory film project

Between August 2014 and October 2015, Salamander Trust undertook a film training and documentary programme to showcase the extraordinary grassroots leadership of women living with HIV in an effective response to Gender-Based Violence and HIV in Africa. The films from Uganda and Namibia were launched on Wednesday and Thursday at AIDS2016. Huge thanks to our wonderful partners Lydia Mungherera of Mama's Club Uganda, and Jennifer Gatsi and Eunice Kena Henguva of Namibia Women's Health Network, with all their teams plus Nell Osborne, Dominique Chadwick, Aurelie Veyret and Dinys Luciano and Jane Shepherd for the awesome participatory film-making project - and huge thanks to UNAIDS for funding it! To view all the films, webinars in English and Spanish and other info about the programme, click below:

Open Democracy AIDS, Gender and Human Rights Series

The Open Democracy series on AIDS, Gender and Human Rights explores the ways in which global policies ignore the gender dimensions of HIV and AIDS, and the impact that has on women's human rights. Read the articles published on Open Democracy throughout the International AIDS Conference, including two written by our friends Alice Welbourne and Susan Fried:

#WhatWomenWant from #AIDS2016

We are so happy that we could bring #WhatWomenWant to Durban as a vibrant platform to unite women and young women's voices and priorities for change, and as a vehicle to bring our solutions into the conversation. We launched 4 new blog posts under the Young Feminist Blog Series, the hashtag was used over 1,500 times making more than 3.5 million impressions, and our young women champions were hard at work building the movement in every corner of the conference.  Activists, researchers, government leaders and institutional partners working across issues have used #WhatWomenWant to bring attention to key issues for women and girls throughout the week: gender equality; SRHR; the range of HIV prevention tools available and their effectiveness and accessibility for young women; funding gaps in the HIV and AIDS responses; the importance and impact of youth-led initiatives and program design; and the urgent need to invest in women-led civil society and young women's leadership as agents of change, among others. These are a few of our favorite highlights from AIDS2016!
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