Next week, in Melbourne, Australia, thousands of HIV/AIDs patients, activists, decision-makers, researchers, experts, pharmacists, advocates will gather at 20th International AIDS Conference to discuss the state of HIV/AIDS in the world and define key steps to end the disease.

I will be attending the conference, known as AIDS2014, on behalf of WITNESS to training activists on how to conduct effective and safe interviews for advocacy with a focus on survivors of sexual violence, those living with HIV/AIDS, and sex workers.

[pullquote]One of the core resources WITNESS will draw on at AIDS2014 is our Conducting Safe, Ethical and Effective Interviews with Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. It’s available for free download in multiple languages.[/pullquote]

We are focusing our training on sex workers’ activist networks because violence against sex workers is pervasive and documentation of this violence is often done unethically and in a manner that does not protect or promote their rights as human beings. Networks to be trained include APNSW (Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers), NSWP (Global Network of Sex Workers Project), Scarlet Alliance, Aids Alliance and more. WITNESS has previous experience supporting sex workers via our partnership with HOPS in Macedonia. We co-produced a video with HOPS promoting zero tolerance for violence against sex workers and calling for a coordinated response for institutions to serve the real needs of sex workers.

WITNESS has worked to support organizations on HIV/AIDS issues as well. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo we co-produced Awaiting Tomorrow with our Congolese partner AJEDI-Ka. We released the video at high level meetings with government ministers in Kinshasa along with Senegalese musician and international activist Youssou N’Dour. We supported our partners to strategically advocate for access to treatment for HIV/AIDS patients and to end the war.

For anyone also attending the conference, I will be stationed in the Global Village, please come say hello!

You can follow me at the conference via Facebook. If you are at the event and need to reach me I’m on twitter @bukeniwaruzi and @witnessorg. Stay tuned for more updates from #AIDS2014.

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