News and Events
Estrela+ is now a member of Rede Feto
Estrela+ became a proud member of Rede Feto, a network of womens’s organisations in Timor-Leste, on Tuesday.
Estrela+ and Rede Feto advocate for women’s rights and gender issues in Timor-Leste. As a member of Rede Feto, Estrela+ will participate in capacity building and empowerment initiatives, as well as advocating for the rights of women living with HIV at a national level, such as the CEDAW working group 2015.
Ines Lopes, Estrela+ Executive Director, says becoming a member is a great opportunity for Estrela+ and its members.
“We are really excited that Rede Feto will be able to help Estrela+ in the area of advocacy to be able to see, and better help our fellow women and children that are living with HIV in Timor-Leste,” says Ines Lopes.
Rede Feto Timor Leste is the key leader in advocacy in women’s rights and gender issues in Timor-Leste. Its member organisation’s include the important players in the field of development of advocacy and services for women, particularly rural women.
Want to know more about Rede Feto’s work in Timor-Leste? Check out their new website: http://redefeto.tl
Estrela+ maka Rede Feto nian membru foun
Rede Feto simu Estrela+ hanesan membru foun iha Asembleia Memberu Anual iha tersa-Feira 9 de Maio 2017.
Rede Feto mak rede hosi organisasaun feto sira-nian. Estrela+ no Rede Feto rua-ruak halao advokasia ba feto sira-nia direitu no asuntu jéneru.
Hanesan membru ba Rede Feto, Estrela+ sei partisipa iha initiativo sira hanesan hasae kapasidade no haforsa liu tan Feto sira, mos bele halao advokasia ba direitu ba feto ne’ebe afeitadu ho HIV iha nivel nasional, hanesan Grupo trabalhador ba CEDAW iha tinan 2015.
Ines Lopes, Estrela+ Direitora Executiva, dehan oportunidade ida nee maka furak liu ba Estrela+ no Estrela+ nian membru sira.
“Ita kontenti tebes katak Rede Feto sei bele ajuda Estrela+ iha area advokasia hodi bele hare no ajuda liu tan maluk feto no labarik sira nebe maka afeitadu HIV iha Timor-Leste,” dehan Ines Lopes.
Rede Feto Timor-Leste nu’udar lidér xave iha advokasia ba feto sira-nia direitu no asuntu jéneru iha Timor-Leste. Nia membru organizasaun sira inklui atór importante iha área dezenvolvimentu ba advokasia no servisu ba feto sira, liuliu ba feto rurál.
Hakarak hatene tan kona ba Rede Feto? Haree took iha sira-nia website foun: http://redefeto.tl
Know your rights
Last year, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, ICW released a poster and course about the rights of pregnant woman and mothers living with HIV, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and how to keep both mother and baby healthy.
With the help of WHO, we have translated ICW’s literacy material into Tetum. The poster is useful for service providers for people living with HIV who may be considering having a child. It is a concise guide to their rights as woman living with HIV and how to keep both themselves and the baby healthy.
The flipchart is a more detailed guide for pregnant women living with HIV and mothers. It contains advice about:
Hatene ita nia direitu!
Tinan kotuk, International AIDS Conference iha Durban, South Africa, ICW halo presentasaun kona ba poster no treinamentu kona-ba saude positivu, dignidade no prevensaun ba feto isin-rua no inan sira ne’ebé afeitadu ho kondisaun HIV.
Ami hakarak fό obrigada wain ba WHO ba halo tradus ba material nee ba Tetum. Poster nee, utíl ba facilidade saude ba ema ne’ebe moris ho HIV katak hanoin kona-ba isin-rua. Ida nee matadalan simples kona-ba direitu ba feto ne’ebe moris ho HIV i oinsa mak promove saude ba nia rasik no kosok-oan.
Flipchart mak matadalan detalludu más ba feto isin-rua ne’be afeitadu ho kondisaun HIV. Ida nee inklui konsellu kona-ba:
Sharing personal story on world stage
Mana Ines presented her first-ever international plenary speech at the Australasian HIV Conference in November.
Ines talked about the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV face in Timor-Leste. Stigma and discrimination can come from not only the community but healthcare professionals as well.
Estrela+ and its partners work to increase public understanding of HIV/AIDS to decrease stigma and discrimination through workshops and educational material.
The audience were able to rate the presenters following their presentation on the conference app - Ines got five out of five stars! Parabens Mana Ines, ami orgulhu ba ita! (We are proud of you!)
Fun and Games: World AIDS Day 2016
We celebrated World AIDS Day 2016 with two of our partners - Esperanca and SSpS.
The day started off with a quiz about HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination. Estrela+’s team got the most points to win the quiz. Parabens!
Next up was a cooking competition between the three organizations. Each team was made up of three members and cooked Timorese dishes. Thanks to all who participated, the food was delicious! After some rigorous taste testing, Esperanca won the top chef title. Obrigadu ba haan gostu Esperanca!
The day finished up with a memorial service and shared meal. It was an especially moving memorial as we remembered people with HIV/AIDS who have passed away this year.
Positive speakers workshop
In June 2016, Estrela+ warmly welcomed Susan and Frika to Timor-Leste to present a Positive Speakers workshop.
The Positive Speakers workshop taught participants how to construct a good speech, how to captivate your audience and how to project your voice.
The workshop also allowed people to talk in a safe space about their HIV status and share their story.
In Susan’s experience many positive speakers find that sharing their story is an extremely rewarding experience and can contribute to better public health messages and outcomes.
The purpose of the workshop was to establish a group of people in Timor-Leste who can talk about issues relating to HIV based on personal experience.
Approximately 30 Estrela+ members came to the workshop.
International AIDS Conference 2016 in Durban
Ines, Franki and Cris went to Durban in July 2016 for the International AIDS Conference. Two others joined them from Timor-Leste joined them, Orlanda, from Esperanca, and Janu, from Codiva.
More than 18,000 global leaders, scientists, advocates and frontline health workers attended AIDS2016, the world’s largest forum devoted to any single health or development issue.
A highlight of the conference for us included the International Committee for Women Living with HIV guide to positive living for mothers and their babies.
We are currently working with WHO to translate these simple guides into Tetun. If you are interested in these resources please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to Tetun podcast about HIV!
Estrela+ talked to Radio Komunidade Lorico Lian in 2016 about HIV in Timor-Leste and their experience of living with HIV in Timor-Leste.
You can listen to the podcast of their interview here:
Oinsa ita moris ho HIV iha Timor (Parte 1)
Oinsa ita moris ho HIV iha Timor (Parte 2)
Estrela Plus attend APN Plus AGM in Thailand
Last month, Policy, Training, Monitoring, Evaluation and Communication Official Franki Baba represented Estrela Plus at APN Plus’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Representatives from 14 nations attended the AGM: India, Pakistan, Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Myanmar.
The AGM was an opportunity to discuss what had been achieved by APN Plus and its member countries in 2015 and APN Plus’ action plan for 2016.
In addition to this, access to viral load testing was discussed; the World Health Organisation recommends viral load testing as the standard to monitor patients that are taking anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
The test itself measures the amount of HIV in the patient’s blood. A small amount of virus means better health outcomes for the patient and a decreased likelihood that that the patient will pass on HIV to other people. When ART is conducted with a good viral load count (the lower the better), there is a clearer picture on whether the patient is responding well to the treatment.
The UNAIDS 90:90:90 target was also discussed. The target aims to: ensure 90 percent of HIV-infected patients know their HIV status; 90 percent of positively diagnosed patients are on life-saving ART treatment; and 90 percent of patients on treatment are responding successfully to their drug by 2020.
This is the second time that Franki has attended the meeting as the representative from Timor-Leste. The AGM provides new information about viral load testing for beneficiaries of Estrela Plus, people who live with HIV/AIDS in Timor-Leste.
A photo is attached of one of the banners which have been created by the National AIDS Commission.
We were very disappointed to see the new standing banners which have appeared recently in Dili supermarkets. A photo is attached of one of the banners which have been created by the National AIDS Commission.
The HIV prevention messages that are widely used in Timor-Leste, in accordance with the Timor-Leste's National HIV and STI Strategy 2011-2016 are: A for abstinence, B for be faithful and C for consistent condom use. As you can see in the photo, in its new banner, the National AIDS Commission has changed the C for condoms to C for "Control yourself".
This is problematic because:
1. It implies that people living with HIV are infected because they are unable to be faithful or control themselves from having 'arbitary' sexual relations. This is false and promotes stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV. More stigma around HIV means fewer people get tested for and fewer people access treatment which ultimately undermines the country's HIV response.
2. By failing to provide information about using condoms, these banners mean that people in the community miss out on an opportunity to receive accurate information about one of the most effective ways for them to protect themselves from HIV. The community has a right to accurate information which helps them make informed decisions about their health.
3. HIV is a public health issue and should not be confused with moral judgments about people's behaviour. For this reason, messaging around HIV prevention should not be focused on controlling people's sexual freedom but on encouraging people to have safe sex.
4. Communication materials like these banners should be developed by professionals consistent with international best practice. Developing behaviour change materials about HIV is a technical skill that involves extensive research, planning, design and testing before they can be printed and distributed in the community. The need for BCC materials about HIV to be evidence-based and high quality is mentioned in several of Timor-Leste's own national policies, including the National Reproductive Health Strategy 2004-2015 and the National HIV and STI Strategy 2011-2016.
We would like to see the immediate removal of these banners from all public spaces in Timor-Leste and urge the NAC to work with Estrela+, other civil society organisations and the Ministry of Health to fulfil its role as a coordinating body.
Stigma and discrimination training for health providers at Oe-cusse district -- 19 June 2015
On 19 June 2015, Estrela + held training sessions about HIV and AIDS and stigma and discrimination for doctors and midwives in Oecusse district. The event was attended by about 28 health providers who responded enthusiastically to the training which was opened by the administrator of the hospital, who welcomed Estrela+ and acknowledged the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV. Estrela+ staff member Mr Franki Baba also addressed the training and called on health providers to work together with Estrela+ to support people living with HIV in Timor-Leste.
Advocacy Training -- 24-26 April 2015
On 24-26 April 2015, with support from Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV (APN+), Estrela+ delivered advocacy training to about 15 people including board members, staff and as well as some peer support volunteers from Bobonaro and Dili districts. This was one of Estrela+ routine advocacy trainings which aims to deepen the knowledge of individual people living with HIV and support them to advocate on behalf of themselves and other members of the community.
International Women's Day event -- 23 April 2015
To celebrate international women's day which is held on 8 March every year, Estrela+ hosted an event on 23 April to recognize the achievements of women living with HIV in Timor-Leste and the challenges they continue to face. During the event the Director of Estrela+, Ms Ines Lopes discussed how women living with HIV should not be excluded from participating in society and identified the challenges that women living with HIV face in accessing education and health services for themselves and their children.
Representatives from the Timor-Leste women's network, Rede Feto also attended the event and spoke about the importance of integrating the gender perspective into the HIV response by ensuring that women are empowered with information about their rights and their health.
Sra . Marta Abenia Dos Santos, the manager of the HIV Programme at the Ministry of Health also attended the event and spoke about the importance of ensuring that the rights of women living with HIV are upheld and pointed to the need for a strong policy response to reduce stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV in Timor-Leste.
Series of partner meetings to discuss challenges faced by women living with HIV -- 15 March
On 13-15 March 2015, Estrela + held a brief meeting together with HIV-AIDS coordinator Hospital Referral in Baucau district Mr. Marcelino to discuss the data and problems relating to women living with HIV and the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
Estrela+ followed this up with a meeting with the FTH coordinator in Baucau. FTH is a partner organisation which focuses on prevention of HIV amongst high risk groups. Together, Estrela+ and FTH will work together to investigate and respond to violations of women's rights in Baucau.
Following these meetings, Estrela+ staff travelled to Bobonaro and Oecusse to continue discussions there with partner organisations including FTH, SSPS Maliana and the voluntary confidential counselling and testing staff at Maliana referral hospital and women's rights and strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination towards women and children in Timor-Leste.
Journalists attend training about reporting responsibly on HIV-- 13 March
On 13 March 2015, Estrela+ delivered a training at Yaysaun HAK to journalists from national outlets, as well as from relevant government institutions and non-governmental organizations engaged in HIV, including the National AIDS Commission, FCE-TL / Umbrella and Esperanca. The purpose of the training was to build the capacity of journalists to report responsibly on HIV. This is particularly timely given the recent articles which have appeared in local newspapers using language that does not respect the rights of people living with HIV. During the training, Executive Director of Estrela+, Ines Lopes, was interviewed by several journalists and emphasized the importance of working with the media to reduce stigma and discrimination.
TIMOR POST ARTICLE SUGGESTS CONTROLLING SEXUAL FREEDOM THE PATH TO PREVENTING TRANSMISSION OF HIV --
Lets be clear -- restricting sexual freedom does not reduce transmission of HIV but does violate human rights.
We were extremely disappointed to read this article in the national newspaper the Timor Post this morning. Even more disappointing is the fact that the person interviewed in the article was the Secretary General of the National AIDS Commission. A few quotes include: 'Because HIV is spread to a person when they have sex with more than one person or or have sex with a person already affected by HIV', 'If a person has sex with more than one person, this contributes to free sex' and 'With cooperation between the National AIDS Comission and Police, it's possible to prevent all people from having arbitrary relations'
Such statements greatly undermine our work to prevent stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV in Timor-Leste, and that of partner organisations. Misinformation like this is also counter-productive to the HIV response because it promotes greater stigma and discrimination against people with HIV who are then less likely to seek and adhere to treatment, or participate in the response. The involvement of people with HIV in the national response is essential.
We are taking steps now to address this particular article, as well taking other action, such as training journalists about how to responsibly report on HIV, which we hope will prevent this happening in the future.
Please support us by discussing this issue with your friends, family and colleagues and doing what you can to promote the accurate dissemination of information about HIV and the rights of the people living with the virus.
Annual Review Planning Workshop - 19 December 2014
On 19 December 2014, Estrela + held an Annual Review and planning workshop. The purpose of this final meeting for the year was for Estrela+ to share with members the results of its programs and discuss plans for 2015. The meeting was attended by Estrela+ staff, peer support group volunteers and members from Dili and the districts.
World AIDS Day Celebration - 6 December 2014
On 6 December 2014, Estrela+, CODIVA, FTH, Scarlet Alliance and other civil society organisations working in HIV celebrated World AIDS Day with the theme “Stop transmission of HIV now”. More than 200 people participated over the course of the day’s celebrations which started in the morning at the CODIVA office. There was swimming, a quiz, a cooking contest and karaoke.
The formal event in the afternoon was held in the afternoon at Tower Bar. The Director of Public Health, Mr Carlito Freitas spoke at the event and in his speech urged everyone to work together to reduce the incidence of HIV in Timor-Leste. Celebrations like these are important opportunities to engage the whole community and to reduce stigma and discrimination towards PLHIV.
ART and Adherence Training in Suai, Covalima District — 18 & 19 Nov 2014
On 18 and 19 November 2014 Estrela+ delivered training about adherence to Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for people living with HIV in the district of Suai. More than 15 people from the PLHIV community attended the event and were enthusiastic to receive this training.
Estrela+ Special Members Meeting - 7 November 2014
On 7 November 2014, Estrela+ held a Special Members Meeting in Dili. Over 60 members of the PLHIV community attended the meeting. In addition to meeting to discuss issues affecting PLHIV in Timor-Leste including recent cases of stigma and discrimination , the meeting was also an opportunity to elect representatives of the community to various positions including the Global Fund Timor-Leste’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, and APN+, the Asia Pacific Network of Positive People.
Ms Ines Lopes attends DFAT's Leadership Development Program, Dili - 7 & 8 October
Ms Lopes was one of 25 Timorese leaders chosen to attend the course which was designed to build leadership skills for Timor-Leste managers and leavers. The course was delivered by the Centre for Public Management which explored leadership styles, leading people and teams and networking.
To read more, go to: /news-and-events.html
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Training, Dili - 29 September 2014
This training was attended by fifteen women living with HIV from Dili and the districts, with a particular focus on the prevention of parent to child transmission of HIV. By building knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights amongst women living with HIV, Estrela+ hopes to empower them to ensure that their own sexual and reproductive health rights are upheld. To read more go to: /news-and-events.html
Film Dialog in Suai, Covalima District - 19 September 2014
Following an initial training session about HIV, fifteen members from the PLHIV community in Suai watched the anti mated film "The Story of Bobo” which tells the story of how the HIV virus operates inside the body in a simple and colourful way and then engaged in an active discussion of the themes raised by the film.
To read more, go to /news-and-events.html
PLHIV Communty Training on Case Management, Public Speaking and Human Rights for PLHIV Community - Dili, 11-12 September 2014
Estrela+ conducted a workshop for members of the PLHIV community on case management, public speaking and human rights. Over 40 community members came to develop their skills and knowledge in these areas of key importance to PLHIV. To read more, go to: /news-and-events.html
Estrela+ staff and volunteers receive M&E Training, Dili, 9-10 September
On 9 and 10 September, Estrela+ delivered monitoring and evaluation training to sixteen of its staff and peer support group volunteers from the districts.
To read more go to: /news-and-events.html
A Champion of People of Living with HIV in Timor-Leste - Ms Ines Lopes
In June 2014, Estrela+ Executive Director Ms Ines Lopes was featured in a photo essay “Champions of People Living with HIV in Timor-Leste”. Marie Stopes International Timor-Leste developed the stunning 12-page publication that follows Ines’ own story of living with HIV in Timor-Leste.
Franki Baba from Estrela+ attended AIDS2014 Conference in Melbourne, Australia 20-25 July 2014
Estrela+’ Communications and Training Officer, Franki Baba was successful in receiving a scholarship to attend the AIDS2014 International Conference held in Melbourne in July 2014. The International AIDS Conference is held every two years and this year, 14,000 delegates from over 200 countries attended the conference in Melbourne. Franki was the only representative at the conference from the PLHIV community in Timor-Leste. To read more go to /news-and-events.html
Estrela+ develops new client database June 2014
With support from the Global Fund, Estrela+ recently developed a database to collect and organise information related to people living with HIV across Timor-Leste. The database allows Estrela+ to easily and quickly access information about people living with HIV at an individual and district level such as contact details and relevant information such as any issues they may be having with treatment adherence or discrimination. To read more go to /news-and-events.html
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Training in Suai, Covalima District - 9 July 2014
With support from WAPN+ (Women of APN+), Estrela+ staff travelled to Suai to conduct sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) training for HIV positive women, stopping on the way to meet with VCCT staff in Aileu, Maubisse and Ainaro. To read more go to /news-and-events.html
ART and Adherence Training in Maliana, Bobonaro District 17-18 June 2014
From 17-18 June 2014, Estrela+ staff Franki and Cris, together with staff from partner organisations, travelled to Maliana in Bobonaro district to deliver ART and adherence training to members of the PLHIV community in Maliana. The training was part of Estrela+ program to build the capacity of the PLHIV community through increasing their understand of ART and improving treatment adherence.
To read more go to:/news-and-events.html
Estrela+ Communications and Training Officer attends APN+ AGM in Bangkok, Thailand 25-27 June 2014
As a member of APN+, Estrela+ was invited to participate in APN+ Annual General Meeting in Bangkok from 25 to 27 June 2014. Estrela+ was represented at the AGM by Franki Baba, Estrela+’ Communications and Training Officer.
To read more: go to /news-and-events.html
Estrela+ Executive Director attends Global Fund South and East Asia Regional Workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 16-18 June 2014
From 16 to 18 June, the Executive Director of Estrela+, Ms Ines Lopes, representing Timor-Leste civil society attended the South East Asia Regional Workshop for the Global Fund to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Phnom Penh, Cambodia along with nine other representatives from the Ministry of Health and civil society. To read more go to: /news-and-events.html
Estrela+ Executive Director attends WAPN+ Strategic Planning Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand 9-11 June 2014
Ms Ines Lopes, the Executive Director of Estrela+ and Regional Representative for the Women of APN+ (WAPN+), travelled to Bangkok, Thailand from 9-11 June 2014 to participate in the WAPN+ Strategic Planning Meeting. To read more about Estrela+' engagement with WAPN+ go to: /news-and-events.html
HIV in Timor-Leste
The first case of HIV in Timor-Leste was reported in 2003. Timor-Leste is a lower-middle income country bordering Indonesia with a population of 1.2 million (The World Bank, Data – Timor-Leste 2014). Today Timor-Leste has a low level non-generalized HIV epidemic with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of approximately 0.1845% of adults aged 15-49 as of 2011 (Timor-Leste National HIV and STI Strategy 2011-2016). This transmission rate exceeds that projected by the HIV Epidemiological Model and Impact Study in 2005 (UNGASS Report). According to surveillance data from the Ministry of Health, at the end of September 2016, there were 630 diagnosed cases of HIV in Timor-Leste.
Sentinel surveillance from 2010 suggests that the incidence of HIV in Timor-Leste is increasing with heterosexual transmission outside identified most-at-risk-populations being higher than predicted (HIV and AIDS Data Hub for Asia-Pacific 2011 Asia Pacific Country Reviews: Timor Leste at a glance).
Read more about HIV is affecting Timor-Leste in "About Us" section of click on the following link: /about-us.html
Find Timor-Leste's National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS here:
Estrela+ would like to acknowledge its partners and supporters