We the participants of the Interfaith pre conference to the ICAAP10 2011, hereby declare its unconditional support and conviction in the belief that Faith must be made more visible and active in the response to HIV and AIDS and to reverse the effects of this global pandemic.
For three decades now, HIV has continued to spread across all levels of our societies, creating stigma and discrimination that is fueled by ignorance, injustice, denial and hate. All of these are against the teachings of our faiths. The members of the Interfaith Pre-conference have come together to challenge and overcome every iota of negativity associated with HIV and instead bring about a worldwide climate of positivity that will lead to Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and Zero Stigma & Discrimination.
Some of the methods to bring about these changes are as follows: Different faith leaders and other members have highly recommended using the holistic prevention strategy called SAVE (S-Safer Practices. A-Access to Treatment. V-Voluntary Counseling and Testing. E-Empowerment). We identified the need to be trained on using the SAVE Toolkit and to applying the SAVE methodology in our respective countries and communities, so that HIV competent faith communities may be further expanded.
Members of the conference heard with great concern the vulnerabilities experienced by people from key populations in relation to HIV. This led to a greater determination in eradicating stigma & discrimination and creating safe spaces for education and awareness on sexuality and gender, with a commitment to continue dialogue with key populations, so that all challenges can be overcome and oppressive systems of power within and outside of religious communities would be challenged.
Faith based Advocacy, Networking and Support for Key affected and vulnerable populations (such as People living with HIV, MSM, People who use injecting drugs, Transgenders, Sex workers, Migrants, Human Trafficking, women, children and populations living below the poverty line) were confirmed by the participants of the Pre -conference and that all interfaith leaders would take this to the next level by involving local, national, regional and global decision makers.
Universal access to prevention, treatment care and support are also being influenced by unjust trade agreements. Life saving medication and diagnostic procedures should not be at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies particularly in the knowledge that Antiretrovirals (ARVs) are effective in preventing HIV transmission. Intellectual property rights regimes need to address the survival needs of people who are affected and infected by life threatening diseases.
We the members pledge spiritual support and action based on the belief that love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy cannot be separated from people living with HIV. The challenges arising out of HIV need to be addressed not with anger, violence and hate, but with a deep faith and a deeper love. We agree to share our experiences, approaches and expertise to reach the common goal of Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS related deaths, and Zero Stigma & Discrimination.