Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2006 interview with Carol Jenkins

Thank you to Aditya Bondyopadhay who sent this interview with Carol published in OSI's "In SHARP Focus," No. 1, 2006.

OSI: Please describe your work on HIV and AIDS.
CJ: My work on HIV began in 1991 in Papua New Guinea and still continues. I have now worked in about 28 countries, conducted primary reserach, set up national second-generation surveillance systems, designed regional and country strategies for major donors and designed and implemented large scale interventions for injecting drug users, sex workers and MSM.

OSI: Describe your previous experiences with the IAC. Have you found participation to be useful? Not useful? Please explain.
CJ: Yes, some meetings have been very useful, and yet not all. Durban was good as was Germany and Japan many years ago. More recently they have become fiestas. Bangkok was great but only in the Global Village. The papers were not interesting, there were few debates, and outside demonstrations served as the only place to be heard for those who disagreed with major discourses.

OSI: You have been at the forfront of insistence that there be greater space and attention devoted to issues connected ot men who have sex with men, transgender folks and sex workers. This IAC seems to be giving a bit more attention to these issues than in the past. Is this your sense as well? If so, what do you think accounts for htis?
CJ: I have been insisting on space for sex work issues, but for this conference the only space has been reduced totally to a few main conference sessions and networking in the Global Village. It would seem that this is, in large part, the result of US pressure, despite little US financial investment.

OSI: Why did you decide NOT to attend the IAC this time?
CJ: My paper on violence againsst sex workers was rejected despite the relevance of the topic and the strong methodology. It makes me wonder if it was the submect matter that led to its rejection. So, I could go to hang out with my friends in the Global Village, but I'm concerned that the section will be kept off to the side and will have no influence on the main meeting. Until sex workers have political clout there will be continued oppression, which is definitely getting worse. The IAC has accommodated this anti-prostitution discourse. At a time when so much force is building up against investments for sex workers, the meeting should have emphasized that - instead it went the other way.

OSI: Please describe yourself, your work and your organization.
CJ: Traines as a medical anthropologist and human biologist, I worked for 10 years on human growth and nutrition in developing countries, a careet path that led through infectious diseases straight to HIV by the early 1990s. Since then I have served as Principal Research Officer, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, the Head of Social and Behavioral Research for Sexual and Reproductive Health at ICDDR,B (Bangladesh), Resident Advisor for Family Health International, Bangladesh, Senior Scientist for Social and Behavioral HIV Prevention Research at the Division of AIDS at NIAID (NIH), Senior Regional Advisor for the Asia-Near East for USAID, and have been a consultant for a large number of international NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donors. Presently I am director of a new company, Alternate Visions, which is working in Fiji for UNAIDS and planning to work in Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.

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