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News and Resources

World AIDS Day 2012: Housing recognized as an HIV/AIDS Intervention

News and Resources
By Rooftops Canada
A major breakthrough occurred at the July 2012 International Leadership Summit on HIV/AIDS and Housing in Washington DC. The Summit was convened by Rooftops Canada’s partners, the U.S. National AIDS Housing Coalition (NAHC) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), as an affiliated independent event of the AIDS 2012 International Conference. Leaders from UNAIDS and other major institutions agreed on the need to place housing security on the global agenda to end AIDS. Rooftops Canada and its partners have long been advocating for the recognition of decent and affordable housing as a major factor in HIV prevention and treatment.
Addressing the Summit, Michel Sidibé UNAIDS Executive Director said: "Getting to zero" HIV infections and deaths will require action to address homelessness and housing insecurity among people living with HIV (PLHIV).” He pointed to strong research evidence that shows housing security improves HIV treatment compliance, reduces mortality and can help lower the risk of HIV transmission. He indicated UNAIDS is advocating for responses to the social determinants that put individuals at risk of acquiring HIV and AIDS. These include poverty, gender inequity and violence, homophobia, poor housing and homelessness.
Canada’s Stephen Lewis encouraged participants to “make housing known as a major HIV and AIDS intervention by getting housing and HIV on the G8 agenda meeting next year; and, advocating for housing as a human right and getting governments that are signatories to the Human Rights charters to be assessed on progress using housing as a variable”.
These very exciting developments are encouraging North American and global networks to keep pushing for housing linked responses to HIV and AIDS. Representatives from our partners ZINAHCO, in Zimbabwe and MES in South Africa also attended the Leadership summit and the AIDS Conference. This helped build the African regional network that is sharing knowledge and experience in HIV, AIDS and housing.
Rooftops Canada continues to support the mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS responses among our African partner housing organizations. This includes: training on gender and HIV/AIDS issues among housing co-ops in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and developing and implementing HIV and AIDS policies and programs in Tanzania, Cameroon and South Africa. Rooftops Canada will support an African regional workshop on HIV and AIDS in 2013 to reinforce these efforts.

Rooftops Canada remains active globally and is helping to plan first global Summit on HIV and Housing in Montreal Canada in September 2013. We welcome the opportunity to network and build strategic alliances that promote decent housing as a response to HIV.