ANSA's current efforts focus on advocating for humane laws and policies with a scientific, rather than an ideological, approach to curbing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Primary areas of focus include:
- Increasing and improving the effectiveness of US global and domestic AIDS funding
- Achieving comprehensive implementation of South Africa's HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan
ANSA undertakes our advocacy efforts in partnership and collaboration with other organizations, coalitions, and wider movements. Our main U.S. allies include HealthGAP, the Black AIDS Institute, PEPFAR Watch, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity. In South Africa, our leading allies include the Treatment Action Campaign, AIDS Law Project, and the AIDS Foundation of South Africa.
ANSA advocacy efforts include:
- Organizing sign-on letters from noted artists, VIPs, organizational allies, and other members of our constituency to influence domestic and international policymakers
- Taking celebrities and experts to on Capitol Hill and other legislative bodies for meetings with elected officials, rallies, and advocacy-related events
- Producing media campaigns and issuing joint press statements with allies
- Educating our constituencies and the wider public on the issues and calls to action through events, media efforts, email and online action alerts
- Mobilizing our supporters and the wider public to take part in letter writing, postcard, email, petition, telephone and constituency meeting campaigns with members of Congress, Parliamentarians, and other elected representatives
- Joining key coalitions and endorsing campaigns, organizational sign-on letters and events coordinated by allies
Between January and July 2008, ANSA continued advocating for an improved version of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We educated our supporters and the wider public about the bill, at various stages in the legislative process, mobilized targeted advocacy efforts. Our advocacy focused on to urging members of Congress to improve the PEPFAR by: 1) Addressing the unique vulnerabilities of women and girls 2) Removing the 33% prevention funding earmark on PEPFAR for abstinence-only prevention education and any other language that restricted PEPFAR grantees to abstinence-only programs 3) Removing the requirement that PEPFAR grantees pledge their opposition to prostitution 4) Maintaining linkages between family planning programs and PEPFAR, and removing language that would extend the global gag rule to PEPFAR-funded programs 5) Supporting the training and retention of 140,000 health care professionals, or one third of the global need 6) Addressing the unique needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
With the election of President Obama, landscape changed significantly when he immediately lifted the Global Gag Rule.
ANSA also played an active role in mobilizing an international outcry against President Thabo Mbeki's decision in August 2007 to dismiss Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who advocated for science-based HIV/AIDS policy. ANSA alerted our constituents and asked them to sign a global petition that significantly surpassed its signing goals due, in part, to our help. ANSA also signed a number of organizational protest letters to President Mbeki and supported the Treatment Action Campaign's call for President Mbeki to reinstate the Deputy Health Minister and implement the HIV & AIDS and STI National Strategic Plan for South Africa 2007-2011.
In September 2007, once it was clear the Deputy Minister would not be reinstated, ANSA took further action by composing and circulating an artists sign-on Letter to President Mbeki, urging him to take bold action on HIV/AIDS by fully implementing the National Strategic Plan. The letter, which was signed by 33 notable artists and entertainment professionals, implored the President to meet the benchmarks for the NSP for 2007 and to further underscore his commitment to the NSP by fortifying the South African healthcare system and intensifying the Ministry of Health's response to HIV/AIDS.
In September 2008, Kgalema Motlanthe became the interim president of South Africa and changed the national HIV/AIDS landscape by appointing MP Barbara Hogan as the new Minister of Health. Hogan, one of ANSA's key advisors and a close ally of the Treatment Action Campaign, substantially changed South Africa's dialogue, policies and implementation on HIV/AIDS. She stated unequivocally that HIV causes AIDS, marking a clear break with her predecessor in the Mbeki administration. Because of this dramatic shift, the framework of what will be needed in advocacy has also shifted from fighting the administration to working to ensure the effective implementation of best policies and practices.
ANSA and its allies are paying close attention to the new administrations in the U.S. and South Africa to identify effective courses of future action. These promise to be exciting and groundbreaking times in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In these difficult economic times, it essential that we continue to work to ensure so that every dollar and rand are spent on the best possible and scientifically sound programs.