GHC Legislative and Outreach Coordinator Duncan Rollason will be blogging all week from the (ICAAP) in Bali, Indonesia. Here is his third report:
BALI, Indonesia —Community dialogue has taken us beyond the funding structures and coordinating mechanisms to address the primary reason WHY we are here this week. Echoed by attendees, panelists and literally by youth activists in the corridors of Bali International Convention Center, “AIDS is a human rights issue”.
In her remarks at Tuesday morning’s plenary “Inequity, Vulnerability and AIDS”, Maire Bopp Dupont, of the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation, asked the audience to take a moment to pay tribute to those children who have lost their parents, families who have lost loved ones and those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Ms. Dupont, who has been living with HIV for more than 10 years, struggled with overwhelming emotion as she commended the strength of those who continue to live with the virus. With great emphasis on AIDS as a human rights issue, Ms. Dupont called for greater access to services in a way that will give people in all corners of the world a dignified life.
Human rights was brought up in almost every session I attended on Tuesday as panelists and attendees called for decriminalization of sex work, drug use, and men who have sex with men, acknowledgment that sex work is work, and that sexual and reproductive health be granted as a right to all. I will visit a voluntary counseling and testing site and methadone treatment clinic on Wednesday in hopes of better understanding AIDS in the Indonesian context.