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Amanda Dushime, 20, HIV positive

Amanda Dushime was born with HIV twenty years ago in Burundi. She is a peer educator for the National Association for the Support of People with HIV and AIDS (ANSS) and an ambassador for the Grandir ensemble network.

Si being a teenager is complicated, being a teenager and living with HIV is even more difficult. We experience multiple stigmas and discriminations. Others are afraid of us. We cannot access certain professions, training courses or scholarships. Some lose their jobs. Others are rejected by their friends and families”launched the young woman during her speech during the conference of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in October 2019, in Lyon.

Her words then shed light on what experts have been reporting for years: the extreme vulnerability of young girls and women to the virus. In 2017, in Eastern and Southern Africa, among 10-19 year olds, 79% of new infections were among girls, as reported in 2019 by La Croix.

“I have always been sick, but I was only diagnosed when I was 11 years old.(…) During all these years, I never said anything. For fear of exclusion, rejectionconfided Amanda to the podium. My role is strong, I wear many faces, thousands of young people speak through me,” she added from the height of her 18 years.

Amanda’s Open Letter to the French President

While taking place, at the end of July 2022 in Montreal, the 24e International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022), and two months before the next conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, she resumes her pen to write an open letter to the French President, which we publish here in its entirety.

Open letter from Amanda Dushime to President Macron

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“Mr. President, I was at your side in 2019 in Lyon when you urged heads of state around the world to increase their financial contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Today more than ever, two months before the Fund’s next Replenishment Conference, you must renew this call and give the necessary impetus by increasing France’s financial contribution.

In 2020, worldwide, a child dies of AIDS-related causes every 5 minutes…

Three years ago, your involvement raised more than $14 billion to fund the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. It was the first time the Global Fund had raised so much money. However, despite this success, the findings remain alarming, even terrifying, as the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the obstacles and inequalities that hinder the fight against HIV/AIDS throughout the world, and in particular in Africa, where the number of HIV tests have dropped and prevention services have seen a significant drop in attendance. Under these conditions, the commitments made in 2019 have not made it possible to achieve decisive progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular against pediatric HIV, which is still very neglected. In 2020, worldwide, a child dies of AIDS-related causes every 5 minutes…

As a young person living with HIV, an educator and ambassador of the Grandir Ensemble network, I bring the voice of my peers to alert you, Mr. President, to the imperative need to redouble our efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. .

Often forgotten, we, children and teenagers living with HIV, have to face a path strewn with pitfalls. To the daily difficulties, such as the daily taking of medication, repeated hospitalizations, discrimination and stigmatization, is added the growing difficulty of accessing screening, treatment and biological examinations, which are nevertheless essential.

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We don’t want that anymore. We want to become the adults of tomorrow.

We are at the crossroads. Either the countries of the world increase funding or we give up hope of ending AIDS by 2030.

The successes that have marked the history of the fight against HIV/AIDS show that remarkable results can be obtained when we refuse fate and when we all mobilize to leave no one behind. Remember your response to the open letter to seven-year-olds around the world, promising them a world free of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030. This ambitious goal, which you say you share, requires action resolved that you call for your wishes. As you said, “Not only do we not have the right to back down, we above all have the obligation, the obligation to eradicate these diseases”. However, the eradication of AIDS can only become a reality on the sole condition that sufficient and adequate financial, material and human resources are devoted to it.

We are at the crossroads. Either the countries of the world increase funding, or we give up all hope of ending AIDS by 2030. By increasing France’s financial contribution to the Global Fund, you will contribute to eradicating AIDS, as you promised to do alongside me. in 2019.

Mr President, the major world conference on AIDS will take place in a few days in Montreal. The Global Fund Replenishment Conference will take place in two months in New York. We, people living with HIV around the world, are counting on you to be there.”

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[Lettre publiée ici via l’organisation The Global Found]

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria conference, which takes place every three years, brings together representatives from governments, civil society, the private sector and communities affected by the three most serious infectious diseases. devastating. France is a founding member of the Global Fund and its leading European contributor. Three years ago, Lyon hosted the Fund’s previous conference. The latter had then obtained pledges of an unprecedented sum of 14 billion US dollars with a view to provisioning its subsidies for the period 2021-2023.

It was on this occasion that the President of the French Republic was able to meet, on stage, Amanda Dushime.

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