Rico Gustav has been named the executive director of the Global Network of People Living With HIV (GNP+), effective February, according to a press release from the group.
A human rights and health activist, Gustav was diagnosed HIV positive when he was 17 years old and living in Indonesia. He has several years of experience at GNP+, including working as the interim director and community development manager. He brings particular experience regarding the intersections of HIV, drug use and key populations affected by the epidemic.
He has also served as senior policy adviser for sustainability at International Civil Society Support and as a board member for the Communities Delegation to the Global Fund.
As the organization’s name states and the group spells out on its website, GNPPlus.net, GNP+ is a global rights-based organization of people who are HIV positive and who “advocate for and support fair and equal access to treatment, care and support services for people living with HIV around the world.” GNP+ was launched in 1992 and has roots dating to 1986.
But Gustav will be leading GNP+ through a “turbulent and transformational time,” according to the press release. It explains that “Support for civil society, particularly for advocacy and for networks led by and for people living with HIV, is waning. Donor transition from middle-income countries, continuing human rights barriers for the most marginalized, and the lack of political willingness to scale up national responses has left far too many people living with HIV exposed to multiple risks and has jeopardized the hard-fought gains made over the last decade.”
“The long-term sustainability and continuity of the critical work of our movement and community members depends, now more than ever, on our ability to support empowered, resilient and active networks of people living with HIV and other key populations on the ground, where critical change needs to happen,” said board chair Javier Hourcade Bellocq in the press release. “Moving forward, GNP+ is well positioned to work hand in hand within the family of global, regional, and national movements led by and for the people most affected by the HIV epidemic.”
Gustav will be located at the GNP+ Secretariat headquarters in Amsterdam.