|Established VS Emerging-Who Wins?|
|Written by Kwaku|
|02 November 2010|
A challenge in the international HIV/AIDS sector is the unspoken tension that can sometimes exist between "established" and "emerging" epidemics. We have heard this dialogue in reference to resource allocation for gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM), who some believe are being neglected as emerging epidemics and populations continue to grow and diversify globally. Yet, our aim is to ensure that "emerging" epidemics don't become "established" ones. But the question remains; how do we invest in populations with a long history of HIV/AIDS, while meeting the needs of newer communities and populations without an "HIV/AIDS infrastructure" in place?
In the context of African and Black populations in the Diaspora (ABD), particularly migrant/immigrant/refugee communities (MIR), ever-changing migration patterns and immigration policies around the world impact the various emerging epidemics in our communities. Developing coordinated approaches in policy, programming and advocacy for these distinct populations is a challenge when evidenced-based data sources and methodologies better designed for "established" HIV epidemics, are ill-equipped to monitor these "moving targets".
So where do donors fit in all of this? Are projects focused on emerging epidemics more appealing because they address current urgencies? Should the lack of published literature on a particular emerging epidemic impact the quality of a grant submission? With a paucity of high-quality research on ABD and MIR populations and sub-groups, these are tough questions we continue to ask ourselves and our partners as we move forward to impact change.
These thoughts came into my head as I was reading a recent Twitter post about Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu offering millions of dollars to African countries willing to accept the influx of African migrants coming to Israel via Egypt as refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants. Click the link below for the article.
I began to wonder...what increased vulnerabilities to HIV are these African migrants in Israel experiencing? What is the rate of incidence amongst this population? Will this be the next "emerging" population in our Diaspora work? Should ABDGN begin to establish relationships with organizations in the middle east? How would we address the lack of any evidenced-based data based on this specific population for use in a possible funding proposal?
Take a look at the video below which gives a brief overview of these African migrants in Israel, which paints a picture that is ideal for health disparities, community immobilization, and human rights abuses.
I am still pondering the "established" vs "emerging" epidemics issues and prefer to think of them on a continuum, rather than a dichotomy. Perhaps greater links between established and emerging populations at risk for HIV/AIDS can help to address these gaps. Perhaps more money in the global pot of resources is the answer to meeting the needs of all people impacted by HIV/AIDS. Although I suspect that the solutions run deeper than increased government spending. Re-thinking how we assess, monitor, reward, collaborate and empower distinct and sometimes divergent communities impacted by HIV/AIDS is a start.
I wonder if PM Netanyahu would be willing to fund ABDGN with millions of dollars to support the African migrants already in Israel and those who make it to Israel before any restrictive legislative policies are in place. Hmm...
We are the ones we have been waiting for