The Love Alliance, a new five-year program (2021-2025), is based on an unwavering commitment to protecting, promoting and fulfilling sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally, unifying people who use drugs, sex workers and LGBTIQ+ movements, and amplifying the diversity of voices in these communities.
Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Love Alliance brings together national thought leaders GALZ, SANPUD and Sisonke, regional grant makers UHAI EASHRI, AFE and ISDAO, with the global network of people living with HIV (GNP+) and the Netherlands-based administrative lead Aidsfonds.
Together, we advocate for adequate levels of funding and for taking truly human rights-based programs to scale. We take this opportunity to priorities and invest in challenging the structural barriers of underfunding, criminalization and exclusion of us in all our diversity.
Time frame 01 January 2021 – 31 December 2025
Budget € 62,903,700
Active in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Across Africa, communities are strengthened to come together and build movements to advocate for change by identifying common issues and tackling them together. Community organizations receive funding and support to fight for their rights and promote access to SRHR. The Love Alliance seeks to significantly reduce HIV infections by influencing policies, raising awareness and organizing communities in ten African countries. With a specific focus on people who use drugs, sex workers, LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV, we aim to achieve the following goals:
1. Capable, inclusive, influential, and mutually supportive key population movements in unrestricted civic space.
2. An end to sexual, gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination against key populations.
3. Equal access to inclusive, people-centered, accountable, integrated HIV and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.
Our strategic objectives contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5 and result areas 4 and 1 of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ SRHR strategy.
The Love Alliance is based on the premise that to end AIDS, the groups most affected by the epidemic need to be at the center of the response. We build on existing evidence on the effectiveness of rights-based responses that focus on and meaningfully engage LGBTIQ+ people, sex workers, people who use drugs, with specific attention for people living with HIV, women and young people within these communities.
The world is far behind in preventing new HIV infections. In 2019, 1.7 million people were newly infected with the virus, more than three times the global target. In addition, the response could be set even further back, by a decade or more, if the COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.
In 2019, people who use drugs, LGBTIQ+ people and sex workers accounted for 62% of new HIV infections worldwide, an increase of 15% compared to 2018. Causes for this increase are stigma and discrimination, together with other social inequalities and exclusion. Despite the urgency and needs, only 2% of current global HIV financing goes to programming for these key populations, and even less goes directly to communities and their organizations. There is an urgent need for securing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people.
Our alliance is composed of alliance partners GALZ, SANPUD, Sisonke, UHAI EASHRI, AFE, ISDAO, Global Network of People Living With HIV (GNP+) and Aidsfonds, and other community-led organizations that are part of local, national, regional and global movements of LGBTIQ+, sex worker, people who use drugs and people living with HIV. Together, we have a strong track record in global partnership management, grant-making including participatory grant-making, thought leadership, organizational resilience, movement building and capacity strengthening, and advocacy.
The Love Alliance is about us
The Love Alliance is about us – people and our power when we come together as communities. Some of us identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, Trans*, intersex and queer. Some of us use drugs, and some of us sell sex. Some of us are living with HIV. Some of us identify with or embody several of the above. We will use experience from our lived realities, evidence from our impact and partners from different sectors. We choose to focus on the things that bring us together rather than set us apart.
Our Theory of Change
The Love Alliance change strategy uses the lived experiences and expertise of our partners and their constituencies to concentrate power in stronger and more aligned networks. We want to ensure key populations are healthy and empowered through inclusive, people-centered SRHR.
The Love Alliance Theory of Change outlines our goals, our long-term, mid-term, and short-term outcomes, and strategies for the coming five years.
The Love Alliance is about us – people and our power when we come together as communities. Some of us identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer. Some of us use drugs and some of us sell sex. Some of us are living with HIV. Some of us identify with or embody several of the above. All of us are criminalized or discriminated against in one way or another due to our identity or HIV status or behavior or purely for political reasons. Every year, tens of thousands of us are arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, deported, fined or denied access to health and justice in our countries, as well as being forced out of our communities and our countries, just because of who we are.
We, as communities, jointly with our allies have invested years in pushing for human rights- and evidence-based prevention, treatment and care that could have made the end of AIDS, and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a reality by now. We advocate for adequately levels of funding and for taking truly human rights based programs to scale. The Love Alliance is our chance to prioritize and invest in challenging the structural barriers of underfunding, criminalization and exclusion of us in all our diversity and in all that we have in common. We all know what we need to do in order to build a world where all people are able and empowered to make well-informed, autonomous choices about our bodies without being criminalized, stigmatized or excluded so we can enjoy our health, freedoms, rights and well-being.
Our organizations will lead and will be accountable to our communities for what we achieve through the Love Alliance, but we cannot do this alone. We can’t bring about the positive and structural change on our own and need the strength of our partnership and collaboration with many other like-minded allies across governments, funders, civil society and community groups. We will work in solidarity across countries, across generations/ages and across our communities/identities. We will use experience from our lived realities, evidence from our impact and partners from different sectors. We choose to focus on the things that bring us together, rather than set us apart. Together, we will push against gender inequality, other forms of inequity, injustices and criminalization demanding equity and inclusion in access to health and justice, including comprehensive SRHR and HIV services for all.
Who is the Love Alliance?
The Love Alliance is about us; the LGBTIQ+, sex workers, people who use drugs and people living with HIV across Africa. We are discriminated against or criminalized, yet envision a world where all people are able and empowered to make well-informed, autonomous choices about their bodies. In addition, everybody, including us, can enjoy the highest level of SRHR fulfilment and lowest vulnerability to STIs, including HIV, so a world without AIDS can be realized by 2030.
To get there, we have joined forces in a five-year partnership (2021-2025) with a global outreach, while having a focus in ten African countries. Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Love Alliance brings together eight national thought leaders (GALZ, SANPUD and Sisonke), regional grant makers (AFE, ISDAO and UHAI) and global HIV experts (GNP+ and Aidsfonds). Join us in our movement as we advocate for equity and inclusion in access to justice and people-centered SRHR & HIV services; together for health and human rights!
What is the Love Alliance?
The Love Alliance is a five-year program (2021-2025) that brings together diverse but like-minded allies across governments, funders, civil society and community groups to prioritize and invest in challenging the structural barriers of underfunding, criminalization and exclusion.
Across Africa, communities will be strengthened to come together and build movements to advocate for change, by identifying common issues and tackling them together. Community organizations will receive funding and support to fight for their rights and promote access to SRHR.
What are the goals of the Love Alliance?
The Love Alliance seeks to address structural barriers to SRHR, including gender inequality, decriminalization, financing for key populations, increased access to health (SRHR/HIV) and justice. We do so by influencing policies, raising awareness and empowering communities in ten African countries. With a specific focus on people who use drugs, sex workers, LGBTIQ+ people and people living with HIV we aim to achieve that these communities are healthy and empowered through:
- Capable, inclusive, influential, and mutually supportive movements of these communities in unrestricted civic space.
- An end to sexual, gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination against these communities.
- Equal access to inclusive, people-centered, accountable, integrated HIV and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.
What do we believe?
We believe that through positive and structural change, supported by the strength of collaborative partnerships, the end of AIDS and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is possible. The Love Alliance is about the power of people coming together as communities. With the right support, community interventions can help to remove systemic barriers to accessing comprehensive, affordable and non-discriminatory health care.
Why is this important?
People who use drugs, sex workers, LGBTIQ+ people and their sexual partners, account for 62% of new HIV infections worldwide. Currently, only 2% of global HIV financing goes to key populations programming, and even less directly to these communities and their organizations.
Dominant political and social discourses dehumanize us, leading to stigmatization, discrimination, criminalization and other forms of violence and reduced access to SRHR/HIV services.
How do we work?
We work and advocate in solidarity across countries, across generations and across our communities. We use experience from our lived realities, evidence from our impact, and partners from different sectors. We choose to focus on the things that bring us together, rather than set us apart. The Love Alliance is our chance to prioritize and invest in challenging the structural barriers of gender inequality, underfunding, criminalization and we will demand inclusion in access to health.
What drives us?
Experience from our lived realities and evidence from our impact and partners from different sectors has shown that together, we can effectively push against gender inequality, other forms of inequity, injustices and criminalization to demand equity and inclusion in access to health and justice, including comprehensive SRHR and HIV services.
Where are we active?
While having a global outreach, the Love Alliance is active in ten African countries:
- South Africa
- Burkina Faso
Where can I get updates?
You can visit the website: www.aidsfonds.org/love-alliance
Love Alliance list of terminology
LGBTIQ+ (not LGBT, LGBTI, LGBTQI)
People who use drugs (not people who inject drugs, unless that specification is needed)
Sex workers (not people who sell sex)
People living with HIV (not people with HIV)
Frequently used terminology and its meaning within the Love Alliance
The Love Alliance spans across countries, ages and groups. We all have different language we use. Language shapes beliefs and may influence behaviors. Considered use of appropriate language has the power to strengthen the global response to inequality.
This is a list of terms that we as an alliance shall frequently use to ensure that all colleagues use the same terminology and prevent any confusion that might arise. These guidelines are a living, evolving document that is reviewed on a regular basis adapted from Love Alliance partner contributions and other documentation such as from UNAIDS. It covers the use of words, phrases and acronyms.
|Antiretroviral medicines/ antiretroviral (ARVs)/ antiretroviral therapy (ART)/ HIV treatment:||Antiretroviral therapy is highly active in suppressing viral replication, reducing the amount of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels and slowing the progress of HIV disease. ARV refers to antiretroviral medicines. It should only be used when referring to the medicines themselves and not to their use.
|Bisexual:||A person emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to male/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.|
|Cis (cis-gendered):||A description for a person whose gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex all align. Opposite would be trans.
|Client/s; service user/s:||refers to persons receiving medical or psychosocial services; replaces the word patient which is aligned to illness.
|Comprehensive Sexuality Education:||defined as “an age-appropriate, culturally relevant approach to teaching about sex and relationships by providing scientifically accurate, realistic and non-judgmental information.”
|Concurrent sexual partnerships:||overlapping sexual partnerships where intercourse with one partner occurs between two acts of intercourse with another partner.
|Discrimination:||refers to any form of arbitrary distinction, exclusion or restriction affecting a person, usually (but not only) because of an inherent personal characteristic or perceived membership of a particular group. It is a human rights violation. In the case of HIV, this can be a person’s confirmed or suspected HIV-positive status.
|Drug dependence:||Drug dependency relates to the physical/psychological connection to a chemical/compound within framework of tolerance, adaption and withdrawal. It does not carry the historical and political connotations of ‘addiction’.|
|Epidemic||An epidemic refers to a disease condition affecting (or tending to affect) a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community or region at the same time.|
|Equitable health care Refers||to the provision of health care that takes into account the specific needs and situations of all people in the population in order to ensure that none are discriminated against.
|Gay:||A term used to describe individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex. More commonly used when referring to males, but can be applied to females as well.|
|Gender:||Gender is different from physical sex. It is a very personal sense of who we are, and how we see ourselves in terms of a girl, a boy, a combination of these or maybe neither. “Gender norms” are how our society expects men and women to behave and look in particular ways – most societies have pretty rigid ideas of what it means to be a man, woman, masculine, feminine. Some girls are masculine, some boys are more feminine, some feel both at the same time, while others experience themselves as being outside gender norms altogether.
|Gender-based violence:||violence that establishes, maintains or attempts to reassert unequal power relations based on gender. It encompasses acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering.
|Gender Diversity:||An umbrella term that includes all the different ways gender can be perceived. It can include people questioning their gender, those who identify as trans or transgender, gender queer and many more labels.
|Gender equality:||A recognized human right, and it reflects the idea that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without any limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles or prejudices.
|Gender identity:||Refers to a person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. It includes both the personal sense of the body—which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means—as well as other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.
|Gender Queer:||A person whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. This identity is usually related to or in reaction to the social construction of gender, gender stereotypes and the gender binary system. Some gender queer people identify under the transgender umbrella while others do not.
|Harm reduction:||The term harm reduction refers to a comprehensive package of policies, program’s and approaches that seeks to reduce the harmful health, social and economic consequences associated with the use of psychoactive substances.|
|Health care:||Health care includes preventive, curative and palliative services and interventions that are delivered to individuals or populations.
|Heterosexism:||Heterosexism refers to culturally and institutionally entrenched attitudes and practices which serve to oppress and marginalize LGBTIQ+ persons.
|Heteronormativity:||The assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual (e.g. asking a woman if she has a boyfriend) and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Leads to invisibility and stigmatizing of other sexualities. Heteronormativity also leads us to assume that only masculine men and feminine women are straight.
|Homophobia:||An umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have towards members of LGBTIQ+ community. The term can also connote a fear, disgust, or dislike of being perceived as LGBTIQ+.
|Homosexual:||A person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender.
|Internalized:||The way in which a member of an oppressed group may accept negative social and moral judgements.
|Intersectionality:||The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, socio-economic background, disability, sex and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination, disadvantage and oppression.
|Intersex:||People born with physical, hormonal or genetic features that are neither wholly female nor wholly male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.
|Key Populations:||Key populations are distinct from vulnerable populations, which are subject to societal pressures or social circumstances that may make them more vulnerable to exposure to infections, including HIV.
UNAIDS considers gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and people who inject drugs as the four main key population groups, but it acknowledges that prisoners and other incarcerated people also are particularly vulnerable to HIV and frequently lack adequate access to services.
Young key populations often have needs that are unique, and their meaningful participation is critical to a successful HIV response.
|Latency:||This term describes a virus that exists inside a body in an inactive or resting (latent) state. Latent viruses do not produce more viruses, and they can exist in cellular pools, often referred to as reservoirs, in a person’s body, not causing any observable symptoms for a considerable period of time before re-awakening and becoming active again. HIV is capable of latency, as seen in the reservoirs of latently HIV-infected cells that persist despite antiretroviral therapy.|
|Lesbian:||A term used to describe women attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other women.
|LGBTIQ+:||LGBTIQ+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Queer. Queer is an umbrella term to refer to all LGBTIQ+ people. A political statement, as well as a sexual orientation which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as fluid. Can also be a simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behavior’s and desires e.g. a person who is attracted to multiple genders may identify as this. The ‘+’ sign is used as “plus” in order to describe all the other gender and sexual orientations.|
|Men who have sex with men:||The term men who have sex with men describes males who have sex with males, regardless of whether or not they also have sex with women or have a personal or social gay or bisexual identity. Do not refer to a person as ‘an MSM’.
|Misgendering:||Referring to someone using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify.
|MTCT:||The transmission of HIV from a HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission. Also known as vertical transmission.|
|Mx:||Pronounced mix, Mix is a gender neutral title option ie) Dr, Ms, Mr, Mx.
|Needle–syringe programme (NSP):||Programmes aimed at increasing the availability of sterile injecting equipment.
|Nutritional support:||aims to ensure adequate nutrition of individuals and households. It includes an assessment of the dietary intake, nutritional status and food security of an individual or household, as well as the provision of nutrition education and counselling on how to ensure a balanced diet, mitigate side effects of treatment and infections, and ensure access to clean water.
|Opioid substitution treatment or therapy (OST):||Opioid substitution therapy is the recommended form of drug dependence treatment for people who are dependent on opioids.|
|Outing:||When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation or gender identity without their knowledge or consent.|
|Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP):||refers to antiretroviral medicines prescribed before exposure (or possible exposure) to HIV.
|Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP):
|refers to antiretroviral medicines that are taken after exposure (or possible exposure) to HIV|
|People living with HIV:||· Refer to people as being HIV-positive or a person/ people living with HIV.
· Use people living with HIV and children living with HIV as they reflect the fact that persons with HIV may continue to live well and productively for many years.
· Use children made vulnerable by AIDS; do not use the term AIDS orphans as this carries stigma.
|People who sell sex:||persons whose livelihood comprises the sale of sexual services or receipt of funds and other assets from commercial sex (formerly sex workers). Avoid ‘prostitute’.|
|People who use drugs:||Person-first language recognises our collective humanity. Removes moral judgment e.g. ‘abuser’ or constructing people using drugs as a ‘problem’. Take care to state the complete phrase or term. Acronyms can dehumanise and objectify, reducing people to a set of capital letters and should be avoided in verbal communication. Avoid drug user; drug abuser; junkie; addict; druggies; recreational drug user;|
|Persons with disabilities:||Persons or people with disabilities, may be classed as ‘differently-abled’. Disabilities are impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions
|Pronouns:||For many people, gender is simple and clear-cut: either their gender identity aligns with physical sex or gender presentation falls closely within traditional norms that most people assume the appropriate ‘he’ or ‘she’. Many other individual present their gender identity and expression ambiguously, causing traditional assumptions about gender to be irrelevant or incorrect. Gendered pronouns like “he” and “she” can be very uncomfortable and limiting for some people who prefer gender-neutral pronouns and some individuals feel more comfortable using a pronoun different from the one associated with their physical sex or apparent gender expression. Examples of gender neutral pronouns can be; they, their, ze, hir.|
|Queer:||An umbrella term to refer to all LGBTIQ+ people. A political statement, as well as a sexual orientation which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as fluid. Can also be a simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behaviours and desires. For example, a person who is attracted to multiple genders may identify as this.|
|Reproductive health:||a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.
|Screening:||Screening is a population-based intervention offered to an identified key population that attempts to detect medical conditions in individuals and groups that are not experiencing signs and symptoms of illness. It is a key strategy of preventative medicine and should be distinguished from diagnosis and active case finding.
|Sexuality:||Sexuality is separate from a person’s physical sex and their gender, sexuality refers to who a person is attracted to, who they want to go out with, and who they crush on. For lots of people sexuality isn’t as simple as being straight or gay. A person’s physical sex, gender and sexuality can be confusing and complicated at times for everybody, no matter how they identify.
|Sexual Prejudice:||A more comprehensive term than ‘homophobia’, ‘transphobia’ or ‘heterosexist’. A term, which covers all these.
|Social change communication:||strategic use of advocacy, communication and social mobilization to systematically facilitate and accelerate change in the underlying determinants of HIV risk, vulnerability and impact.
|Stigma:||refers to devaluing, discrediting beliefs and/or negative attitudes formed around certain attributes defined as discreditable or unworthy. When stigma is acted upon, the result is discrimination.
|SRHR||The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the agreed treaties establish that human rights apply to everyone and that no one should be excluded. They identify that SRHR entails not only the absence of reproductive or sexual illnesses, but also the full enjoyment and well-being of sexual health.
These rights include: accessing sexual and reproductive health-care services; seeking, receiving and imparting information related to sexuality; obtaining sexuality education; enjoying respect for bodily integrity; choosing a partner; deciding to be sexually active or not; participating in consensual sexual relations; engaging in consensual marriage; determining whether or not (and when) to have children; and pursuing a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life
|Trans/Transgender:||An umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms. It may mean someone who mentally and emotionally identifies as a different gender to the one they have been assigned by society, often living their lives as that gender, and who may or may not choose to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Or it could be a person who transcends the binary gender systems altogether, so that they identify as neither male or female gender.
|Test and treat:||refers to voluntary HIV testing and the offer of antiretroviral therapy after diagnosis, irrespective of WHO clinical stage or CD4 cell count. The voluntary nature of both testing and treatment should be emphasized to ensure that individual autonomy is respected.
|Universal access:||implies maximal coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for those who require them. Basic principles for scaling up towards universal access are that services must be equitable, accessible, affordable, comprehensive and sustainable over the long term
|Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC):||Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is the surgical removal of the foreskin, the tissue covering the head of the penis where cells highly receptive to the human immunodeficiency virus are located.|
|Vulnerability:||Vulnerability refers to unequal opportunities, social exclusion, unemployment or precarious employment (and other social, cultural, political, legal and economic factors) that make a person more susceptible to HIV infection and developing AIDS.
|Women who have sex with women:||The term women who have sex with women (including adolescents and young women) includes not only women who self-identify as lesbian or homosexual and have sex only with other women, but also bisexual women and women who self-identify as heterosexual, but who have sex with other women.