ICASO is a Canadian organization that acts as a global policy voice on HIV issues that impact diverse communities around the world. We understand that technology alone will not solve the AIDS epidemic, but that people and communities will continue to be central to this fight, particularly as we combat stigma, discrimination, and legal barriers to health and rights. Further, we believe that communities are best equipped to articulate their own needs, priorities, and solutions. Thus our advocacy work champions the leadership of civil society and key populations in the effort to end AIDS. We do this through collaborative partnerships with people and organizations in all regions and various sectors, always with a view to serving and empowering communities.
ICASO’s vision is an end to the HIV epidemic with strong contributions by communities in all their diversity to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and to defending and promoting human rights.
ICASO’s mission is to mobilize and support diverse community organizations and networks to create and sustain effective responses to HIV.
Evidence – Alliances – Advocacy
ICASO’s work, while varied and responsive to circumstances, generally falls into three categories, based on our Strategic Plan 2017-2020:
- Evidence for Advocacy and Action. ICASO implements and supports initiatives to strengthen capacities and skills in the community sector to access, generate, interpret and use scientific and other forms of evidence to support advocacy, policy and programming.
- Alliances for Dialogue, Exchange and Learning. ICASO creates opportunities for strategic, action-oriented dialogue, exchange and learning within the community sector and with allies in other fields of health, justice, human rights and development.
- Advocacy for Accountability, Sustainability and Impact. ICASO mobilizes and supports evidence-based advocacy to promote sustainability, accountability and impact in the HIV response in the context of the SDGs, Fast-Track targets and universal health coverage.
Paramount to our approach is the principle of greater involvement and meaningful engagement of people living with HIV. As described by UNAIDS, “It is a principle that aims to realize the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV, including their right to self-determination and participation in decision-making processes that affect their lives.” We believe it enhances the quality and effectiveness of the AIDS response and as such, ICASO endeavors to apply this principle in our work and to advance and sustain the greater involvement of people living with HIV in all aspects of the response.
ICASO is guided by the perspectives of key populations in the HIV epidemic, including people living with HIV, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men, indigenous people, prisoners, and migrants, as well as women and young people. We recognize that these communities must be at the center of the global AIDS response. Because of the marginalization and criminalization faced by key populations, it is vital to support communities to speak out for human rights and to advocate for policy reform and effective programming at all levels.