A Year Like No Other – Open Letter from ITPC Executive Director Solange Baptiste

Dear Friends,

In March 2020, we realized we were headed towards another pandemic that would alter our lives in fundamental ways. More than a year later, we are still grappling with the fall-out from COVID-19, which has resulted in close to 4 million deaths and an unknown number of people struggling with ongoing symptoms post-infection.

The virus left many of us stranded in place, cut off from families, friends, and essential services. While the development of vaccines brought hope, it also brought despair as those of us in the global South wait for them to become available at the same speed and efficacy as in rich countries.

But the brightest hope to emerge from 2020 was the way that COVID-19 revealed the strength and resilience of communities.

From the beginning, ITPC’s Global Activist Network members mobilized to take care of people living with HIV in their local areas. Through the network, we were the eyes and ears on the ground. We documented disruptions to healthcare and medicines and alerted those in power to respond. We held regular virtual briefings to reach people living with HIV with essential information.

We jumped headfirst into advocacy around fair vaccine access, building on our track record of working to make medicines affordable. Our members were afraid for their own health, but they still went outside their homes to deliver antiretrovirals (ARV) to people who could not access them. HIV taught us about stigma, fear, and the necessity for courageous action.

Thank you to the Global Board for their continued support and invaluable guidance through these tough times.

I would like to dedicate this report to members of ITPC’s Global Activist Network, who worked tirelessly in 2020 to build a world that respects the right to health.

In solidarity,
Solange Baptiste
ITPC Executive Director

View the ITPC Global Annual Review 2020 here.

Download the ITPC Global Annual Review 2020 as a pdf here.