For over three decades, Indigenous Peoples around the world have been on a path leading towards the forming of an International Indigenous Working Group on HIV and AIDS (IIWGHA) and the International Indigenous HIV & AIDS Community (IIHAC).
Early collective action began during the International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada in 1989. The initial leadership was provided by the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC) in the United States, and by Te Roopu Tautoko Trust in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The first International Indigenous AIDS Conference was hosted in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1991 by Te Roopu Tautoko Trust. The following year, an informal, ad-hoc meeting of International Indigenous Peoples met during the 8th International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, Holland in 1992. In 1993, they met again at the annual International AIDS Conference located in Berlin, Germany. The Indigenous peoples who gathered at the early meetings listed above were considered an ad-hoc group, although they were determined to meet at every International AIDS Conference.
In 2005, the International Indigenous Peoples Satellite Planning Committee was formed to plan the next year’s Indigenous Satellite conference. By 2006, the working group called themselves the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Secretariat (IIHAS) and hosted an Indigenous Satellite at International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada (AIDS 2006). The intent was that the IIHAS would continue collective action on recommendations and priorities developed by over 300 participants, most notably the Toronto Charter: An Indigenous Peoples’ Action Plan on HIV/AIDS.
In 2008, the group met again at the Pre-conference of Indigenous and Afro-Descendent People at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, Mexico, which was particularly relevant for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. It showed the response by our peoples to HIV and AIDS and the crosscutting themes of sexuality and human rights. Finally, there was a unification of the agendas of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in the face of racism and all forms of discrimination.
In July of 2010, the IIWGHA met and conducted strategic planning during the Indigenous Satellite at International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. Since finalizing the International Indigenous Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS for Indigenous Peoples and Communities from 2011-2017, IIWGHA has hosted an Indigenous Peoples Networking Zone in the Global Village of International AIDS conferences and International Indigenous Pre-conferences in the USA (AIDS 2012), Australia (AIDS 2014), South Africa (AIDS 2016), the Netherlands (AIDS 2018) and a virtual conference out of the USA (AIDS 2020: Virtual).