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Social movements have generated interest in development circles since the mid-1990s as relatively independent expressions of civil society, mobilising people to set their own development priorities and agendas for issues as diverse as water privatisation, neo-liberal trade policies, the rights of women and indigenous peoples, and access to HIV anti-retroviral treatment. In the case of HIV and AIDS, independent civil-society initiative has been key to successful responses. Social movements of people living with HIV and AIDS, gay men, women, sex workers, and people who inject drugs have developed innovative institutions and responses to HIV and AIDS, and organised against stigma and discrimination. By bringing people together and advocating effectively, social movements have amplified voices of people most affected by HIV, enabling them to influence governments and decision makers.

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