The event, organised during the International AIDS Conference currently taking place in the U.S., was co-hosted by House of Lords’ Select Committee on HIV Chair The Right Honourable Lord Norman Fowler and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, The Honourable Daniel Baer.
High profile guests included Alan Duncan, UK Minister of State for International Development, Dr Nils Daulaire, U.S. Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs, and singer Annie Lennox who is also the International Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Passionate contributions to the evening were heard from:
- Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador, who welcomed guests to his residence in Washington DC.
- Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the Alliance who highlighted why he believes that a human rights approach must be the foundation of the HIV response.
- Felistus Motimedi, Awareness Raising Programme Coordinator at BONELA (Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS) who spoke about her experience of advocating for human rights based approaches, including difficult work with key populations.
- And Alan Duncan who talked about the UK governments’ commitment to supporting the global HIV response, and announced that the UK’s Department for International Development would be contributing financially to the recently launched Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund. This new Fund aims to bolster the efforts of civil society groups in addressing the impact of HIV on key populations (this followed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement earlier in the day of their $2million contribution).
Guests were also treated to the premiere screening of a new short film made by the Alliance and its partners in Vietnam and Ukraine, Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Brother. The film featuring the personal testimonies of Alyona and Nga, two people whose lives have been improved by accessing harm reduction services - including needle exchange and methadone.