This #IWD, like every day, women, girls and gender diverse people everywhere will be #makingwaves in big and small ways, addressing #HIV #SRHR #VAWG #GBV, making the world a better place for all of us. Women and girls living with HIV who identify as sex workers, women who use drugs, trans women, queer women or non-binary or gender non-conforming people, and women living with HIV who do not identify with any of the ‘key population’ categories used by the international HIV actors, do vital and ongoing work. We are working to support each other, deliver services, respond to needs, address priorities and advocate for the rights of women, girls and gender diverse people. We have been doing this work for a long time, and we know the needs are great and the work must continue. Gender inequality is persistent, and patriarchy negatively affects us all. Whether we conform to gendered social norms or not, we experience violence and gender-based discrimination. Many of us are tired and burnt out, but we carry on.
On International Women’s Day, we call for more recognition, funding and support for all women living with HIV, in all our diversities – for those of us who identify as part of key populations and those of us who do not. We call for support across our lifespans, not just when we are pregnant or in other circumstances when others feel that we pose a transmission risk. We call for support for work that is gender-transformative, that is based on feminisms including trans feminisms, African feminisms, and feminisms that foreground the rights of sex workers, that addresses the structural and patriarchal roots of gender-based discrimination and violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people, that promotes and affirms our sexual and reproductive health and rights, and that values and acknowledges the huge contribution we make as women living with HIV to society and to a better future for everyone.