What: March, rally and distribution of condoms and safe sex information to displaced Haitians living in Port-au-Prince unplanned encampment
Why: To protest Haiti’s lack of a National AIDS Strategy and the need for $100 million in reconstruction funding designated for Haitian AIDS services
Who: Dozens of activists from Plateforme Haitienne Des Associations de PVVIH (PHAP+), a coalition of 13 grassroots Haitian AIDS organizations, as well as Housing Works Haiti
Where: Encampment at Delmas 40B (behind Altagrace), Port-au-Prince
When: Saturday, May 29, 2010, at 10:00 AM
Haitian and U.S.-based AIDS activists will distribute hundreds of condoms and safe sex information at an unplanned encampment in Port-au-Prince that is home to thousands of Haitians displaced by the January 12 earthquake this Saturday, May 29 at 10 AM.
The activist, who will also stage a march and rally, are protesting the Haitian government’s lack of a plan to address Haiti’s AIDS epidemic since the earthquake, as well as the United States’ failure to designate funding to rebuild Haiti’s devastated AIDS services network.
“Haiti will never recover from the earthquake unless we make AIDS treatment and prevention a priority in reconstruction,” said PHAP+ President Esther Boucicault. “We can stop tens of thousands of Haitians dying unnecessarily of AIDS, but only if we invest in clinics, supportive services like housing, and of course HIV prevention education as part of the reconstruction plan.”
According to UNAIDS, 2.2% of Haitians are living with HIV/AIDS, but the earthquake nearly wiped out the country’s AIDS infrastructure. A recent U.N. report said AIDS healthcare in Haiti is “under serious threat” and that it is “imperative” that relief efforts address AIDS. The report noted that:
- The majority of AIDS treatment facilities and clinics in Port-au- Prince, Jacmel, Leogane and Petit Goâve have been destroyed.
- Fewer than 40% of Haitians who were receiving AIDS-related care before the quake receive it now.
- More than 1 million Haitians are living in unplanned encampments (where sexual violence and exploitation in the camps threatens to increase HIV infections.)
Despite these devastating statistics, the United States government has not designated any of its Haiti reconstruction funding, currently pending in Congress, for AIDS services.
Activists are demanding that Haiti’s Ministry of health adopt and execute a strategic National AIDS plan, with input and participation from Haitians living with HIV/AIDS. They are also demanding that the United States government add $100 million to its 2010 Supplemental Request that would be administered through PEPFAR and include AIDS in all categories of reconstruction relief, such as health care, housing and nutrition.
Plateforme Haitienne des Associations de PVVIH is a national coalition of 13 Haitian AIDS groups led by people living with HIV/AIDS. PHAP+ members: Association espoir et vie pour les personnes infectées (AEVPI); Association des personnes infectées et affectées par le VIH/SIDA (APIA/VS); Association des personnes infectées et affectées par le VIH/SIDA (APIAVIH); Association des personnes vivant avec le VIH (APVIV); Association Nationale de Solidarité (ASON); Conseil national pour le droit des personnes infectées (CONDPI); Grande implication des personnes affectées et infectées par le VIH/SIDA (GIPA); Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas (FEBS); Mouvement Haïtien pour le développement rural (MHDR) ; Nou pap ka ret konsa (NPKRK); REHPIVIIH (Réseau Haïtien des Personnes Infectées par le VIH); SéroVie; VIH-ACTION.
ABOUT HOUSING WORKS
Housing Works is the U.S.‘s largest community-based AIDS organization and largest minority-controlled AIDS organization. Since 1990, Housing Works has provided a comprehensive array of lifesaving services, such as housing, medical and dental care, meals, case management, counseling and job training, to more than 20,000 homeless or low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.HousingWorks.org. Housing Works has collaborated with PHAP+ since 2008 and opened a Haiti office in 2010.