Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the UK NGO AIDS Consortium

  This letter is in response to Press Notice No 19 of Session 1999-2000, dated 6 April 2000. The UK NGO AIDS Consortium are delighted that the International Development Select Committee has decided to look into HIV/AIDS and Social and Economic Development, a subject that is becoming increasingly pivotal in all discussions about International Development.

  The Consortium is a group of organisations who work together to understand and develop effective approaches to the problems created in developing countries by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It enables each agency to bring its own experience to be shared and used to help all the members to improve their response to the epidemic. As the Consortium depends on its members not only to share knowledge, but also to support it through membership contributions, it can maintain a voice that is independent and can genuinely reflect the concerns of NGOs working in the field.

  The effect of HIV/AIDS, compounded by poverty and civil disruption has already reversed many of the development gains of the past 20 years, including life expectancy, a key development marker.

  It is no longer sensible to view HIV/AIDS simply as a health issue. The impact of the virus can be observed in all areas of social and economic development. A key feature of the work of the Consortium is to promote the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS into all aspects of development and commercial sector practice.

  The Consortium would particularly like to highlight the following areas that we feel the International Development Committee should consider:

    —  mainstreaming HIV/AIDS: to respond effectively to the HIV/AIDS pandemic it is essential that consideration of the impact of HIV is integral to both development and commercial sectors planning and operations. This will be a subject of a future project of the Consortium, DFID, who are also significant contributors to the Consortium, have already embarked on a process of mainstreaming HIV/AIDS and we have contributed via John Snow International who are helping DFID facilitate the process;

    —  access to HIV/AIDS Treatments in Developing Countries: although recent announcements regarding a price reduction for Antiretroviral Treatments (ARVs) for developing countries are to be welcome, there will be little benefit derived from this unless there is both investment in and development of the health care infrastructure of the worst affected countries. Treatments for opportunistic infections and palliative care should be higher priority than provision of ARVs.

  Please refer to Access to HIV treatments in developing countries—interim report and International Seminar consensus Statement:[1]

    —  Impact of HIV/AIDS on Family and Community Structures: UNAIDS estimates that by the end of 1999 the cumulative total of children who have lost their mother to AIDS before the age of 15 will be 11.2 million. Our Working Group on Household and Community Impact is looking at how families and communities cope with HIV/AIDS; the changing roles of family members and the impact on the care and socialisation of children affected by HIV/AIDS.

  Please refer to Report of the Working Group Meeting 9 August 1999 and Role of Older People in the Epidemic Paper[2]:

    —  Vulnerability of the Girl Child: Our recent report discusses the way in which HIV/AIDS has a disproportionate impact on girls and women, who are least able to effect social, political and cultural change. The report recommends the implementation of international conventions, ratification of CEDAW and the African Charter on the Rights of the Child, in countries where it is not in force; UN Convention on the Rights of Children; The Beijing Declaration and the Stockholm Agenda for Action.

  Please refer to Vulnerability of the Girl Child to HIV/AIDS International Seminar Report[3]:

    —  International Development Targets: We would like to highlight our submission to DFID on the Target Strategy Paper "Better Health for Poor People". In particular we would mention the need for consideration of appropriate international development targets.

  Please refer to UK NGO AIDS Consortium submission to DFID on the Target Strategy Paper "Better Health for Poor People"[4]:

    —  Stigma and Discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS: There is a need for all development agencies and NGOs to support cultural change to reduce stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS and to strengthen the capacity of People Living with HIV/AIDS to inform responses to the epidemic.

  The UK NGO AIDS Consortium supports and welcomes new initiatives such as vaccine development and treatment innovation, but it feels very strongly that basic development work, ie building infrastructure, strengthening community capacity, generating sustainable sources of income etc should remain the highest priority. Without these efforts all other initiatives will not be effective.

  The UK NGO AIDS Consortium would be pleased to offer the experience and expertise of our members to support the Select Committee Inquiry. Our Chair would be very willing to give evidence at the hearings.


    Access to HIV Treatments in Developing Countries 4 November 1997-2 December 1997.
    Consensus Statement from International Seminar 5-6 June 1998.
    Report from the Working Group on Household and Community Impact 9 August 1999.
    Vulnerability of the Girl Child to HIV/AIDS International Seminar Report 15-16 November 1999.
    Response to DFID Target Strategy Paper January 2000.
    Safe Motherhood and Mother to Child Transmission from Consortium Quarterly Meeting 26 May 1999.
    Structural Adjustment, trade regulations and HIV: what are the links and what is the impact on the epidemic and on people with HIV? From the Consortium Quarterly Meeting 8 September 1999.
    Effective HIV/AIDS Activities: NGO work in Developing Countries Collaborative Study Executive Summary March 1996.
    Refugees, Displaced People and their Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS International Seminar Report 28-29 October 1996.

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