On 23 March, as part of activities marking women’s month in the DRC, SWHAP collaborated with civil society organisation La Mains sur le Coeur and UNAIDS for high-level advocacy with women holding leadership roles in politics and business. The objective of the meeting was to create partnerships to influence improvements in access to prevention, testing and treatment services for women and children.
The advocacy was also in support of the UNAIDS campaign “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free” a framework for ending AIDS in children, adolescents and young women by 2020. As this campaign directly relates to the 90-90-90 targets by ensuring no one is left behind, discussions also looked at supporting women living with HIV. The event was supported by the Minister of Health, Mr Ilunga Kalenga, and the Ambassador of Sweden to the DRC, H.E. Håkansson.
According to the demographic and health survey (2013-2014), HIV prevalence in the general population is around 1.2% but 1.8% among pregnant women attending antenatal services. An analysis of the AIDS response in the country reveals significant inequalities in access to HIV information, testing and treatment services faced by children. Investments targeted towards children are low (less than 10%) and are not up to the needs of the country. Pediatric antiretroviral coverage is also low at 33% and communication is not adapted to the needs of children. Additionally, stigma and discrimination prevent many from taking up HIV prevention and treatment services.