The HIV epidemic remains a huge social, human and developmental challenge. In spite of significant recent achievements, millions of people living with HIV or AIDS are still not receiving prevention information and treatment. Stigma and discrimination remain rife in many parts of the world, and insufficient budgets and punitive laws continue to hinder access to HIV services, particularly for those at the margins and the most vulnerable.
Addressing the challenges posed by the HIV epidemic, including grave human rights violations, requires strong political commitment and bold responses in terms of both policies and programmes. The role of MPs as legislators and community leaders places them at the core of efforts to tackle the challenges, press for change and end discrimination.
Our work is spearheaded by our Advisory Group on Health, a small group of MPs who are leaders on the subject in their home parliaments. Any parliament is eligible to make a request, regardless of the HIV situation in the country. Assistance is given through capacity-building activities that range from increasing awareness to strengthening the response of parliaments to specific national issues. Special attention is paid to strengthening advocacy efforts in parliaments.
The Advisory Group also conducts field visits to assess the role of parliaments in selected countries in the national response to AIDS, documents examples of good practice and makes recommendations for improvement. We also produce material that helps parliaments deliver the best possible response to HIV and AIDS.