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About Alice Welbourn

Alice Welbourn is Founding Director of the Salamander Trust and is on the steering group of the Athena Network. Diagnosed with HIV in 1992, she is a former chair of the International Community of Women living with HIV and developed the Stepping Stones training programme on gender, HIV, communication and relationship skills. Alice is a Commissiong Editor for the openDemocracy 50.50 platform AIDS, Gender and Human Rights.

Alice Welbourn es socia fundadora de Salamander Trust y forma parte del grupo de dirección de Athena Network. Fue diagnosticada de VIH en 1992, y fue la presidenta de la Comunidad Internacional de Mujeres con VIH y desarrollo el programa de entrenamiento Stepping Stones sobre género, VIH, y técnicas de comunicación y relaciones. Alice es encargada de la de la Edición de las plataformas sobre Enfermedades de transmisión sexual, género y derechos humanos de openDemocracy.

Articles by Alice Welbourn

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The diary of an AIDS activist: lost to temper and hungry for hope

“The real reason we haven’t beaten this epidemic boils down to one simple fact: we value some lives more than others”  -  Charlize Theron, speaking at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban.

HIV, AIDS and holistic healthcare: can spirituality and science meet?

The theme of next week's World Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa is 'Access, Equity, Rights Now'. Will its debates offer the whole answer to those preventing - or living with - HIV?

El confinamiento de Eva: solucionar el Ébola, el Zika y el SIDA con el cuerpo de la mujer

Hay claros paralelismos entre los tres grandes virus (Ébola, VIH y Zika) y la respuesta de la sanidad pública global y los persistentes, y muchas veces tóxicos, estereotipos de género. English

The confinement of Eve: resolving Ebola, Zika and HIV with women’s bodies?

There are parallels between three major newsworthy viruses, Ebola, HIV and Zika, in relation to the global public health response and persistent and often toxic gender stereotypes. Español

Welcome to our house: women living with HIV

The largest survey on women living with HIV, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has revealed the stark truth about the gender-based violence and mental health challenges that positive women face.

HIV and AIDS: language and the blame game

The negative and dehumanizing language used by scientists discussing global HIV policy is sapping the soul of those on the receiving end. The call for an alternative language of nature and nurture must be heard. 

No experts, saviours or victims: women living with HIV

Beyond bio-medical models, recent research has enabled a better psycho-social understanding of how women can access HIV treatment, if they want to, in stressful daily conditions.

HIV: witnessing the realisation of raw human rights

Fear of HIV disclosure and subsequent violent reactions are experienced globally. We know that rights-based approaches can create resilience and hope. So where is the political courage and will to make them happen?

AIDS and adolescents: denying access to health

With a 50% increase in AIDS-related deaths among young people, AIDS is now the second leading cause of their deaths. At the conclusion of the AIDS 2014 Conference, Alice Welbourn is left wondering whether anything is going to change in the HIV world for young women - and their children.

AIDS 2014 Conference: stepping up the pace and still on the wrong path

As the 20th International AIDS Conference opens in Melbourne this weekend, Alice Welbourn reflects on how global policies still fail to acknowledge the gender dimensions of this pandemic, or take into account the new broader medico-ethical debates which echo many of the concerns of women living with HIV.

HIV: Violations or investments in women’s rights?

In the context of widespread sexual violence and its reciprocal links to HIV, Alice Welbourn reports on how the formal scientific evidence base alone is beginning to be recognized as not fit-for-purpose to safeguard women’s rights.

An end to AIDS?: Not through medication alone

In the world of HIV, the allure of the bio-medical techno-fix still attracts many policy makers. Meanwhile a parallel world of care, support, community spirit and women’s resilience still beats quietly. On World AIDS Day Alice Welbourn considers the future of the AIDS pandemic

Compulsion versus compassion: HIV treatment for women and children

Alice Welbourn and Louise Binder consider whether the new World Health Organisation treatment guidelines for women and children living with HIV may result in more abuse and harm

Women and the post-2015 agenda: are you on board the ark?

With the roller-coaster of the CSW just finished and the resignation of UNWomen Director Michelle Bachelet, the next year promises stormy seas ahead for setting the future agenda for women’s rights. Alice Welbourn sets out some priorities for civil society in relation to HIV, gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive rights.

The gender politics of funding women human rights defenders

Lack of funding for women’s rights is a form of gender-based violence which is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. Alice Welbourn says it is critical for us to hold governments and the UN to account for gender equitable budgeting.

An HIV-free generation: human sciences vs plumbing

The top down medical bio-fix behind the new Global Plan for an AIDS-free generation will not work without shifting the status quo to include human rights and the science of phenomenology: that means talking to us, funding us and involving us, says Alice Welbourn

Is there a future for women living with HIV?

Rumours of the closure of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, and a World Bank and USAID meeting of "world thought leaders" with no women on the panel. On the final day of the XIX International AIDS Conference, Alice Welbourn reports on the battle for the human rights of women with HIV to health, participation in the world, and to dignity.

HIV: time for the US to put its own house in order ?

In the US more than 80% of women living with HIV are women of colour and poverty. Funding is drying up for prevention and supportive services, and HIV criminalization is on the increase. Alice Welbourn reports on the opening day of the X1X International AIDS Conference in Washington DC

HIV and the Global Plan: turning the tide or a wash-out for women?

The 19th International  AIDS Conference opens in Washington DC next week. We all seek an HIV-free generation but as the Global Plan gathers pace, the juggernaut effect, with little safeguard for women’s rights or safety, may yet derail the process. Alice Welbourn explains why.

HIV: of bombs and banks and transformation...

Thirty years into the AIDS pandemic, an AIDS-free generation is in our grasp at last. Alice Welbourn asks whether we are really going to let it vanish, thanks to the aggressive traits of financiers and governments ?

The "calm down dear" factor writ large: AIDS, women and the UN

In the words of the African parable, when elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers. Then what will they have to survive on? Alice Welbourn reports on the plethora of men on the platform in New York....

Rocking the cradle - and the boat

Global funding for HIV/Aids now goes to large international organisations. They need the grassroots organisations to tick their boxes of “community involvement”, but they are corporate entities, and the money for the daily advocacy work of positive women has all but dried up, says Alice Welbourn

Positive women human rights defenders

When the world has come to terms with the reality that HIV is not a morality issue, and that it can affect any one of us, it will be time to recognize the dangerous work of these women defneders of human rights.

We hear the thunder but we see no rain

Whilst the dollars roll big-time for medical male circumcision, we are forever at the wrong end of a deeply entrenched uneven male playing field of traditions when it comes to gender, HIV - and funding

Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence

At the close of the AIDS Conference in Vienna, Alice Welbourn reports that the question of whether a human rights agenda to public health will really start to find its way into the science tracks of these conferences still hangs above us all

Medication, prevention and me

"For those of us who are in stable relationships with an HIV-negative partner – or seeking one – this was total music to our ears". Alice Welbourn reports from the International AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna

Sistership in action: zoning in on Vienna

There we all were, presentation-writing abandoned, frantically wielding screwdrivers to construct eight large flatpack bookshelves which we have been lent for the week. Grace springs into action as the flatpack queen, explaining patiently to the rest of us the critical sequence to construction without tears. The frantic week has begun

"More than just a pound of flesh"?

It is time to move beyond the 'objective' evidence base to rights and justice for women with HIV. Will the International AIDS Conference in Vienna next week make a difference?

When things fall apart

Alice Welbourn charts her own personal experiences of what she learnt about HIV, about herself and about others during her early years of living with her diagnosis. She reflects on how traumatic experiences can also be ones of growth and self-knowledge – and how HIV has much to teach us all.

Balancing on Wheels of Hope

Balancing on Wheels of Hope

Alice Welbourn is an
international activist and campaigner on women's rights and HIV/Aids, and former
chair of the International Community of Women Living with HIV/Aids.
Previous articles
include HIV/Aids: a war on women  and
World Aids Day: a message  

A message for World Aids Day

The criminal prosecution of people with HIV is accelerating insidiously around the world. This article charts developments since Alice Welbourn's openDemocracy report on this ‘war on women' for International Women's Day 2008.

HIV/Aids: a war on women

International HIV/Aids policy, led by the United States, is discriminating against those it needs to help most, writes Alice Welbourn.

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