PRIDE 2024: sustaining HIV, TB and Human Rights in an era of Health Systems Strengthening

Vulnerable groups, such as queer individuals, sex workers, and drug users, are particularly affected by HIV and tuberculosis, and national health systems in many countries, including in Africa and Asia, do not prioritize these groups.

scheduleOppdatert: 28.06.2024

createForfatter: Dumi Gatsha, Laila Løhting og Halvor Frihagen


Norway has committed to prioritising health systems strengthening in its engagements with multilateral and global health architecture. Whilst this is welcome coming out of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the three High Level Meeting (HLM)s on Universal Health Coverage, Tuberculosis (TB) and Pandemic Preparedness and Response and the more recent World Health Assembly; there have been concerns raised by civil society. These concerns include the overall reduction in development investments despite an increase in the target for development allocation. Notably, this has impacted institutions such as UNAIDS, where there has been a reduction from 130 million NOK (11,5 millon €) in 2019 to 20 million NOK (1,7 million €) in 2024. This reflects a global trend where donor countries are sifting priority and navigating competing development interests whilst overall funding is in decline. “The cuts come despite Norway giving an overall very positive evaluation of UNAIDS’ work” says Halvor Frihagen, political advisor at HivNorway. “This follows a shift in Norwegian development aid towards the general strengthening of national health systems, and away from a focus on specific diagnosis. We fear that this will leave vulnerable people and stigmatized key populations behind.”

Engagements have been arranged with various stakeholders with vested interest and a longstanding commitment to global health. Complimented by Pride celebrations; these engagements allow us to reflect on progress and extend solidarity for the LGBTIQ+ community in Norway and globally. Most notably, illuminating the successes and challenges of HIV and TB in various environments. As the founder of Success Capital and GFAN Speaker, Mx Dumiso Gatsha expands: “The HIV response has been critical for advancing the rights based approach to health, improving social behavioural change and ensuring the inclusion of marginalised groups, such as sex workers, injected drug users, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer in public discourse. Success and progress should not go punished with less funding or de-prioritisation as anti-rights, anti-LGBT and anti-gender populism is deteriorating the gains made and aggravating inequities. This visit was filled with immense learning, an appreciation of the work being done in Norad and MSF Norway, whilst unpacking shared stigma and discrimination with HivNorge and gaps in TB with LHL International. I am deeply appreciative to not only extend solidarity for niblings in crisis, but see the other end of what liberation can look like when celebrating pride whilst in Oslo.”

The cumulative Pride commemoration occurred on 25 June 2024, at Pride House. Under the auspices of the United Nations aiming to eradicate HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria as public health challenges by 2030. The event unpacks how vulnerable groups, such as queer individuals, sex workers, and drug users, are particularly affected by HIV and tuberculosis, and national health systems in many countries, including in Africa and Asia, do not prioritize these groups. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) and UNAIDS are critical mechanisms to respond and help serve marginalised communities, even in countries where LGBT and HIV are criminalised. The event further explore the question on how Norwegian government’s reduction of support to UNAIDS, and possible uncertainties with its support to the Global Fund, can compromise or aggravate the lack of treatment and prevention measures for marginalised communities. LHL International has longstanding relationships and experience working in partnerships on tuberculosis in southern Africa, and they are very clear: “Without a strong civil society movement and peer- led programs reaching key populations, it is not possible to end the TB and HIV epidemics.  At country level we see that the Global Fund and UNAIDS are key in making this happen at a larger scale. Without them, it will most probably be reduced to bits and pieces.”

For more information:

Dumi Gatsha

Halvor Frihagen

Laila Løchting

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