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Tell No Lies: Essays on Global AIDS Effort Pull No Punches in Challenging "End of AIDS" Rhetoric

October 16, 2014

Sisonke Msimang, lead author of AIDS Today: Tell No Lies and Claim No Easy Victories

Sisonke Msimang, lead author of AIDS Today: Tell No Lies and Claim No Easy Victories

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance's new report, AIDS Today: Tell No Lies and Claim No Easy Victories, offers a series of provocative essays that, according to lead author Sisonke Msimang, resist the temptation to "pull together a neat, chronological story about how the war against AIDS has been won."

The group had planned to start to present series of chapters and case studies on the state of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the cusp of 2015 -- the final year of the Millennium Development Goals that seek to meet the needs of the poorest people on the planet. But, as Msimang details in the report's executive summary, "As the activists whose words are contained in this collection of essays and insights began to write, it became clear that this approach would not work."

She explains that the authors were looking for an opportunity to challenge the "new language of 'success' and 'unprecedented scientific breakthroughs' that have become the new AIDS orthodoxy. They wanted space to count the losses and mourn the dearth of rights in too many contexts. In reaching out to a group of thoughtful, tough and astute activists, we have inadvertently tapped into a raging counter-narrative that seemed to have had no formal outlet until now."

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The nine essays and Msimang's executive summary span from Latin America, Africa, Europe, America and Asia. They offer critiques and analysis on development policies, human rights efforts, global financial crises, drug pricing and advocacy strategies. They also provide stories of victories among transgender leaders, case studies of organizing drug users and probing examinations of power, gender and the right to dignity.

In the executive summary, Msimang notes, "As all of our authors point out so fiercely, the winds were never simply about goodwill and good intentions. The battles were always hard fought and hard won on the basis of a clear understanding of power and politics."

She says they hope activists will use the essays in their work, and let the authors know not only what speaks to their experiences but also where they feel the essays "got it wrong."

"Above all," she concludes, "we hope that you will continue to resist and fight, and insist on dignity and human rights as non-negotiables. In the process, may you tell no lies and may you claim no easy victories."

Julie "JD" Davids is the managing editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

Follow JD on Twitter: @JDAtTheBody.


Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.



  
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