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Deprived of sources of livelihood, HIV/AIDS vulnerable groups petition global fund

Deprived of sources of livelihood during the pandemic, sex workers, transpersons, gay and bi-sexual men, drug users and people living with HIV/AIDS have petitioned the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) protesting against being ignored by government and multilateral agencies in coronavirus (COVID-19) related emergency relief efforts.

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The petition on behalf of “key populations affected by HIV/AIDS” or KPs is signed by 10,483 people and 236 Indian and international organisations who have sought allocation of funds to meet their basic survival needs for food, shelter and emergency medical care as many find themselves without work and displaced due to lockdown restrictions accompanying the pandemic everywhere.

“We have lost our jobs, are losing our homes and are scared sick about how we will survive until we start working again. Yet no government, no multilateral agency, no U.N. organisation — in fact not one of those who signed on to that promise — has allocated any resources to ensure access to emergency rations, shelter and medical care, which are critical to help us survive through this period,” states the petition issued on Monday, adding that the neglect was despite the GFATM acknowledging that the pandemic will severely hit HIV prevention and care programmes.

No direct support

“Instead, in our name, millions of dollars are being spent on COVID testing equipment. For example, the Global Fund approved a $20-million COVID response fund for India that has no direct support for at least 1.5 million KPs, despite repeated, evidence-based demands by civil society.”

The petitioners, therefore, urge the GFATM to issue guidance to governments to channelise their COVID-19 relief funds to emergency survival needs of KPs.

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The petitioners include National Network of Sex Workers (NNSW) in India, All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), Telangana Intersex Transgender Samithi, Assam Network of Positive People (ANP+), Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in South Africa, Global Network of Sex Work Projects in the U.K., as well as several community-based organisations and civil society organisations.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:41:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/deprived-of-sources-of-livelihood-hivaids-vulnerable-groups-petition-global-fund/article32151264.ece

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