History of IIWGHA

Early collective action began when the first working group on HIV and AIDS was formed at the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Montreal, Canada in 1989. The group boycotted the conference in San Francisco in 1990 due to US immigrations policy regarding AIDS. Initial leadership for the working group 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 People 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 for the following 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 the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006) in Toronto, Canada. The intent was that the IIHAS would continue collective action on recommendations and priorities developed by over 300 participants. Most notably, the Toronto Charter: Indigenous Peoples’ Action Plan on HIV/AIDS. (hyperlink to “Key Documents”)

In 2008, the group met again at their own 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 before the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. The International Indigenous Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS for Indigenous Peoples and Communities from 2011-2017 was published in 2011. In 2012 a two-day International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV and AIDS took place in Washington, DC immediately preceding the International AIDS Conference. Preceding the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia, IIWGHA hosted the 5th International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS in Sydney, Australia.