“IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH: Women and HIV in 2009”

Hosted jointly with the TARGETS Consortium at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

With many thanks to Durex for kindly supporting the event

Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to access the content of the information packs handed to our guests. The flyer of the event can be downloaded by clicking here

Held on Thursday 1st October 2009, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, this latest event in the Sophia Forum series looked specifically at the Health Sector response to Women and HIV, both in the UK and internationally. For more background on the event, please read the event announcement published on OpenDemocracy and the after event press release also published on OpenDemocracy.

“I really enjoyed my evening at the Sophia event, ‘In sickness and in health’. I felt inspired to be in the company of such knowledgeable yet approachable group, who were all so committed to making positive change for women affected by HIV. The presentations were very interesting, and really shed new light on the issue for me. I was particularly encouraged and excited by the way in which biomedical and social aspects were explored together, presenting a more holistic view of the situation for women. I went away with new ideas and energy for how I could contribute to improving the situation for women around the world, in my own small way. I’ll be back, and will bring friends next time!”

Rowan Boase, Youth Team Assistant, UNICEF UK

The evening was a success. It was fantastic to see three great speakers, expert moderation by Sue MacGregor and excellent questions from the floor. Each speaker brought a different perspective to women and HIV.  All our events include at least one openly positive woman speaker. We also have positive women in the audience, whom guests can talk to afterwards, in order to learn more about the many and complex human rights issues faced by women living with HIV in the UK – and internationally.

Dr Jane Anderson, Director of the Centre for the Study of  Sexual Health and HIV at Homerton University Hospital,
gave empirically backed insight into the reality of women with HIV in the UK, with an emphasis on the unique challenges they face.

Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma, responsible for HIV Mainstreaming at Christian Aid  highlighted the need to tackle gender based violence.

Winnie spoke of some of the successes in providing treatment and support for women, and highlighted the ongoing challenges.

Winnie dedicated her talk to Catherine Nyirenda

Professor Peter Piot, Director of Institute for Global Health at Imperial College London and former Executive Director of UNAIDS, asked if the global HIV response passed the test for women. While he highlighted some key successes around treatment and preventing mother to child transmission of HIV he also spoke of ongoing issues, especially the continuing stigma and discrimination around HIV. Please click here to access Peter Piot’s presentation.

The panel of speakers and the Q&A session were moderated by Sue MacGregor CBE
(UNICEF UK trustee and BBC Radio 4 broadcaste

Hearing from not only activists for HIV and AIDS but also healthcare professionals who are leaders in their field was really interesting – bringing the debate to a much more urgent level.  So often when hearing about the problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, the urgency feels slightly displaced, but when shocking accounts of practicising doctors in the UK who still face obstacles and ignorance when diagnosing and treating HIV and AIDS are told with such stark honesty such as Prof Jane Anderson’s lively presentation, it sparked her audience into sitting up a little straighter and most definitely piqued the investigative curiosity of Sue MacGregor which culminated in a really enjoyable interactive debate. Highly recommended, and looking forward to the next Sophia event!

Zaynin-Nissa Kanji

Photos by Matthew Gonzalez-Noda, courtesy of Christian Aid

Information pack (produced by Aimee Latta and Dr Rupa Zaman, both former students from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine):

Bios of our speakers

Event’s evaluation form

Sophia’s achievements and relevant web links to the event

Sophia’s newsletter No. 3

Cochrane SRH HIV evidence

Summary of presentation at the House of Commons for international Women’s Day, 2009: “Women, HIV and Human Rights – the crisis of criminalisation” by Alice Welbourn

HIV-positive African women surviving in London: Report of a qualitative study“, by Lesley Doyal and Jane Anderson, 2003

Testing and the Rights of HIV-positive women, ICW (international Community of Women living with HIV and AIDS), 2006

HIV and Pregnancy: Tough choices … and the right to choose“, by Dawn Averitt, JANAC, 13 (3), 11-12

African women with HIV coerced into sterilisation“, Guardian article, June 2009

“HIV: daring to share” – Lifeboat films

Pozfem report

Silent Voices, ICW report

Introduction Presentation (to be played as a slide show)

Our Thanks (to be played as a slide show)


With many thanks to the Female Health Company for providing us with Female Condoms