SA National Aids Council (Sanac) excludes persons with disabilities The South African Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) represented by SANAC has recommended that QASA's Rolling Positive programme will not be taken forward into the next Global Fund cycle.

The reason given for this recommendation is that the Global Fund wishes to create a strategic focus on a small number of key populations for the proposal in an effort to ensure bigger impact on the HIV/AIDS incidence, prevalence and mortality rates in South Africa. This recommendation comes despite the fact that persons with disabilities are profoundly vulnerable and that there are numerous reasons for the limited attention to the linkages between HIV/AIDS and disability.

This recommendation also flies in the face of the National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs (NSP), which identifies people with disabilities as a key population group "that are most likely to be exposed to or to transmit HIV and/or TB" and notes that "people with disabilities have higher rates of HIV and that attention should be paid to the different types of disability, as the vulnerabilities of different groups and the associated interventions required will vary."

Despite the phenomenal success of QASA's Rolling Positive Programme the implication of this decision is that QASA now needs to consider alternative funding sources. There have been very few attempts to include persons with disabilities in HIV/AIDS programmes, campaigns and services and QASA's Rolling Positive programme is an initiative that has made an important contribution to mainstreaming persons with disabilities into HIV/AIDS responses. The programme is ground-breaking that since July 2010 has provided HIV prevention messages to more than 51 000 persons with disabilities throughout South Africa and has trained nearly 1 400 during two day training, and 500 persons with disabilities as Peer Supporters who provide community-based sexual reproductive health support, especially HIV/AIDS/STI/TB education and awareness information.

The Global Fund not only enabled Rolling Positive to provide disabled people with education and information about HIV/AIDS/STI/TB, but it also trained Peer Supporters to establish and maintain community-based support groups that encourage persons with disabilities to develop a positive lifestyle. We thank the Global Fund for this. QASA' Board, QASA's wide membership base, Rolling Positive Trainers, Peer Supporters, and each and every one that has supported this humble project are hereby thanked for their continuous support.

ri-dot