PRESS CONFERENCE AND FOUNDING AFFIDAVIT: NEW COURT CHALLENGE TO ONGOING HIV RELATED DISCRIMINATION IN THE SANDF, 9 JULY 2013

Following years of negotiations between the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP) regarding the SANDF’s old health classification policy that excluded people living with HIV from recruitment, external deployment and promotion in the military, in 2008 the North Gauteng High Court settled the matter. Pursuant to an out of court settlement between the two parties, the Court declared such policy as unconstitutional to the extent that it violated the rights of aspirant and serving members of the SANDF to equality and dignity, among other rights.

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Statement: SECTION27 welcomes the judgement from the Supreme Court of the United States in USAID vs AOSI

SECTION27 welcomes the judgment from the Supreme Court of the United States in USAID v AOSI. The judgment declared a law making the denunciation of sex work a requirement to be eligible to receive funding from the US to combat HIV an unconstitutional violation of the right to freedom of speech. The judgment opens the door for much needed and previously prohibited work to realize the rights of sex workers and other people living with HIV or at risk of becoming infected with HIV.

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SA AIDS Conference 2013 update: TAC receives the Dira Sengwe Award and issues statement

The 6th South African AIDS Conference opened last night in Durban. Sifiso Nkala of the TAC took the stage and accepted the Dira Sengwe Leadership Award on behalf of the TAC. The award “recognises ethical beacons and leaders in AIDS” and was awarded to the TAC in recognition of its critical role in the HIV movement since its inception.

The conference, as the HIV movement more broadly, must be led by the people for whom the ideas and decisions discussed at it mean the most – people living with HIV, yet Sifiso was the only person openly living with HIV to share the stage at the opening ceremony. In the tradition of TAC activism, Sifiso took the opportunity of TAC’s receipt of the award to address the conference audience of around 2500 on the challenges that cripple the health system, cost lives and show that the end of AIDS is not so near as some would have us believe.

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Statement: A Step Closer to Eliminating Insurance Discrimination Against People Living with HIV

Following years of engagement with the insurance industry on the issue of the blanket refusals to provide insurance cover to individuals living with HIV, SECTION27 is encouraged that a permanent favourable solution could be found soon. This follows the recent groundbreaking commitment made by the Association for Savings & Investment South Africa (ASISA).

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Fix The Provinces and Rural Health to Make the Health Budget Work for All Statement by SECTION27 and RHAP 16 May 2013

On 15 May 2013 the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, delivered his annual National Health budget and policy speech (here). The speech provides an opportunity for the Minister and his department to communicate progress they have made in delivering health services, the challenges they face and what they plan to do to advance the right to health.

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Joint Submission on Guidelines for the Management of Tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Sexually-­‐Transmitted Infections in Correctional Centres, 2013

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Department of Health (DoH) jointly announced the Guidelines for the Management
of Tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Sexually-­‐Transmitted Infections in Correctional Centres, 2013 (the Guidelines) on World
TB Day, 24 March 2013. Centre for Applied Legal Studies. WIts Justice Project, SECTION27 and Treatment Action Campaign wrote a joint submission

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Report: Emergency Intervention at Mthatha Depot: The hidden cost of inaction

In early December, the Mthatha medical depot – serving more than 300 medical facilities in the North-eastern region of the Eastern Cape for medical supply needs – faced severe supply and delivery disruptions of life-saving HIV and tuberculosis [TB] treatment for over 100,000 patients. Stripped of 70% of its workforce due to suspensions in a labour dispute, the faltering management of the depot collapsed and critically compounded existing stock shortages at the depot, hospitals and clinics in the area. Orders had not been processed, supplies not received and, ultimately, drugs not dispensed to patients most in need. As a result, the danger of treatment interruption for HIV and TB patients was a perilous reality.
After Section27 and the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) received pleas for help from distressed health care workers on the ground and with the consent of the responsible health authorities, MSF and TAC started a coordinated response. MSF hired a temporary workforce and cleared the backlog of drug orders by coordinating stock reception, order processing and deliveries to affected facilities. TAC set up and maintained a drug stock-out hotline and monitoring network to help prioritise essential drug delivery to clinics. The Department of Health complemented the MSF/TAC intervention by sending three experienced pharmacists to assist at the Mthatha depot. Read the full report here

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Press statement: Systematic Problems in Drug Supply Have to be Addressed Now to Avert Future Crisis

After responding to a drug distribution crisis at Mthatha medical depot between 7 December and 24 January, the medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is handing all activities back to Eastern Cape health authorities. The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) will mobilize 25 volunteers to assist in the handover

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