It was the largest gathering Alliance China has hosted, with 67 participants representing interventions across 11 cities in three provinces.
Reaching key populations
Dr. Yang Yihui of Sichuan HIV/AIDS Research Institute provided participants with an epidemiological update, and discussions followed on how HIV/AIDS programmes in China are developing to be more accessible for key populations.
It was clear from these discussions that Alliance China has succeeded in changing attitudes towards community mobilization with local partners demonstrating more trust and understanding of the community groups and a greater willingness to support their development.
It was the first time a representative attended from a Public Security Bureau, the Chinese local government offices responsible for policing and social order. This welcome perspective stimulated ideas about how local programmes could be improved for peoples who use drugs (IDUs) in particular.
Experience is key
Participants visited three Alliance supported programmes:
- A sex worker intervention in Mianyang City run by the city CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Purple Hearts Sex Worker Group.
- A harm reduction programme in Emei City run by the city CDC and the Five Hearts IDU group.
- A programme for MSM (men who have sex with men) run by the Chengdu Gay Community Care Organization.
This was a great opportunity for participants from other provinces to experience how interventions are being conducted in Sichuan, and use the experience of the visits and the meeting to develop programmes around the country.