ITPC launches new Strategic Direction 2012 – 2014

Published: February 3, 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters of ITPC,

I am happy to share with you ITPC’s new strategic direction that can be accessed at: (full report) (2-page executive summary)

This strategy document is the result of many months of work of the ITPC Global Advisory Board, former and current Global Secretariat staff and consultants, Regional Coordinators, and the partner organisations. ITPC would like to express its sincere gratitude for their support and guidance throughout the strategic review process. We also wish to thank those individuals and organisations who participated in the on-line survey to inform the development of this strategic direction.

Over the next three years, ITPC intends to invest in three priorities – people, knowledge, and action. Our three strategic goals focus on:
 (1) Strengthening community knowledge on the scientific, political, and socio-economic aspects of management of HIV and related infections;
 (2) Engaging and supporting advocacy by PLHIVs and affected communities in all aspects of decision-making in order to ensure access to optimal – client centered, high quality, uninterrupted, affordable, and  linked with diagnostics and other health services – prevention, treatment, care and support services; and
 (3) Developing and strengthening individual, community and network capacity, mobilization, and leadership in order to scale-up and maintain high-quality HIV-related treatment access.

We have identified three knowledge and advocacy priorities through our consultations and these are:
 (A) Promoting treatment optimization for better, simpler and affordable drugs, diagnostics, and services including for co-infections such as tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C.
 (B) Advocating and securing lifelong treatment for all HIV-positive pregnant and lactating women.
 (C) Opposing unfair trade regulation in particular those governing intellectual property rights as a major barrier to affordability and the next scale-up of treatment.
ITPC will work on these priority areas through the modalities that it is best known for — through supporting communities with small grants, building research capacity of commuities for evidence-based advocacy, and focusing on a broad range of treatment literacy tools and issues for its constituents.

Over this past year, several staff members have left or planning to leave ITPC, and move on to new challenges and positions. We’d like to thank David Barr, Moises Agosto, and Andy Quan who have provided much-needed leadership and nurtured the development of regional networks through the HIV Collaborative Fund (the small grants program). Aditi Sharma and Erika Baehr, coordinating the Treatment Monitoring Project that includes the Missing the Target reports and CCM evaluation report will also leave us at the end of the first quarter of this year. Aditi and Erika have been instrumental in developing community capacity on research and advocacy and providing the world with a view of challenges faced by communities in accessing treatment. Thank you Aditi and Erika for your dedication and hard work. Thanks to Nikos Dedes for coordinating the World Community Advisory Board, but has decided to focus on the crisis in his home country Greece. While these individuals may be leaving their current positions, and we are saddened by their departure, they are part of the ITPC family and like family will continue to engage with us through new relationships.

Over the past year, we have witnessed many developments in the HIV response. The exciting news is that we now have the scientific evidence to support that access to treatment not only keeps people living with HIV alive and healthy but also now can help in the prevention of transmission of the virus. There are new frameworks discussing the scale up of treatment, effective resource expenditures, achieving zero deaths, zero new infections, and zero human rights violations and renewed global political commitments. Yet global leaders have retreated from supporting HIV, and given the global financial crisis are unlikely to scale-up their commitments. National leadership at the country-level both political and community needs to step in and play a larger role.  WE have to learn to be more effective with the resources and tools in order to achieve the global commitment of 15 million on treatment by 2015.

Together, we can continue to build a people’s movement around access to treatment that takes into account the numerous global commitments and the promises enshrined in international human rights law on the right to health and the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. Together, we can advocate for newer drugs that are easier to take (fixed dose combinations) with fewer side effects, second-line and third-line drugs that cannot be accessed because they are too expensive given the global trade rules relating to intellectual property laws pushed by the same donors (U.S. and Europe) who are cutting back support. Together, we can close the treatment gap that exists amongst key populations living with HIV, namely men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender persons, migrants and prisoners in concentrated, generalized and hyper-endemic contexts. Together, we can ensure that no more children are born with HIV by providing their mothers with treatment. Together, we can reach out to those infected with tuberculosis and hepatitis to ensure that treatment is affordable. Today communities are better organized and easily mobilized through regional networks and global networks. We must capitalize on forming closer alliances with each other if we want to see an "AIDS Free Generation" in our lifetime.

In solidarity,
Dr. Sarah Zaidi, Executive Director of ITPC

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