On Tuesday 1 December Bridging the Gaps organised a satellite session at the ICASA conference in Zimbabwe. Around 120 people, ranging from community representatives to policy makers gathered to look at how key populations are paving the way towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.


Even though the speakers live and work in diverse countries and belong to different communities of key populations, there was an overarching understanding during the satellite session: human rights need to be respected and civil society needs to be strengthened when working towards full and equal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV services for key populations. The speeches once again demonstrated that it is time to stop working in silos and to work together in solidarity.

I stand in solidarity with African key populations – sex workers, men who have sex with men, transdiverse people, people who use drugs and people living with HIV in order to end AIDS. It is important to make sure that the term key population includes everyone that is part of this, and not leave anyone behind or fall between the cracks, for example young key populations.

Tshepo Kgositau, Gender DynamiX & Southern Africa Trans* Forum


What joins sex workers, people who use drugs and LGBT people is a shared commitment to promote and protect the health and rights of key populations, as they often encounter the same challenges and struggles. HIV/AIDS will not end by 2030 if these groups are neglected. During the satellite we jointly identified three priorities that will be crucial to reach this goal:

  1. Strengthened civil society
  2. Improved human rights of key populations
  3. Full access to SRHR and HIV services


At the end of 2015 the world is looking at the future with the start of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS for 2030. At the same time many new initiatives will start in 2016, including a five year continuation of the Bridging the Gaps programme in which key populations will continue to pave the way.

Most of this particular work isn’t going to be funded by national governments. That’s why programmes such as Bridging the Gaps and RCNF are important, also to reach key populations in middle income countries. Amsterdam is acting upon its epidemic and the Dutch government has shown leadership. By focussing on cities and using resources that are there, for example the capacity of civil society organisations, health programmes for key populations can be fast-tracked.

Mbulawa Mugabe – Director Country Impact and Sustainability UNAIDS

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