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News and Resources

Rooftops Canada and Partners Strengthen Focus on HIV

News and Resources


"Before gaining access to safe, affordable housing through Johannesburg’s Madulamoho Housing Association, I was living in a garage and selling my body to support my three kids.” Thandiwe Austin, a 35-year-old single mother living with AIDS.

HIV and AIDS continues to be an urgent housing and human settlements issue, especially among women and children living in poverty and poor housing conditions in urban slums in Africa. While sub-Saharan Africa is home to only 12 percent of the world’s population, it houses 68 percent of people living with HIV. South Africa has more people living with HIV (5.6 million) than any other country in the world.
Rooftops Canada and its partners have developed grassroots housing response to HIV and AIDS targeting both the infected and affected, supported by regional exchange and networking.
  • In Tanzania WAT/SACCOS have, a draft HIV and AIDS policy to help improve the status and recognition of people living with HIV (PLWH) in urban communities.
  • In Cameroon, CONGEH continues to engage in policy dialogue towards recognizing the role of women and mainstreaming HIV and AIDS. It is setting upsafe social spaces where people are free to discuss difficult issues, including HIV and AIDS and eliminate stigmatization.
  • In Zimbabwe, in spite of the economic and political challenges there, ZINACHO has established HIV and AIDS support groups in every district, and encourages all cooperatives to organize HIV and AIDS activities.
  • UHSNET in Uganda has recruited new members from marginalized groups, and developed materials to advocate for the rights of tenants, particularly PLWH.
  • In South Africa, MES has built a social media presence as a way of networking with partners and sharing knowledge and experience of HIV/AIDS.


Rooftops Canada and its partners are also active in global advocacy to increase understanding of how HIV plays out in slum conditions. The African experience is reflected in the International Declaration on Poverty, Homelessness and HIV/ AIDS. It is also on the agenda of the World Urban and Social Forums, the International AIDS Conferences and the International AIDS Housing Roundtable. Rooftops Canada is a new member of the Visioning Committee of the National AIDS and Housing Coalition and will attend a symposium Housing and HIV and AIDS on the eve of the International Aids Conference (July 20, 2012) in Washington.

Mainstreaming HIV and AIDS in housing issues and continued global awareness-raising are crucial in order to ensure a long life for women like Thandiwe and her children.