Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Asia & the Pacific: tackling stigma

1
AUG
2011

Aids Alliance

This August, Alliance members from across Asia will join thousands of delegates at the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP).

Representatives from Alliance Linking Organisations in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam will be in attendance along with members of Alliance supported community based organisations (CBOs). You can read what some of these CBOs are hoping to gain from ICAAP here.

The theme of ICAAP is ‘Diverse voices, united action’ and it will focus on HIV as a political, social and economic concern as well as a purely health issue. We know from our work in Asia and the Pacific that HIV-related stigma and discrimination continue to undermine responses in the region.

UNAIDS estimates that there were 4.1 million adults and children living with HIV and AIDS in South and South East Asia in 2009, with a further 770 thousand in East Asia (UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic, 2010). The epidemic is concentrated among key populations who are at higher risk of HIV. In Asia and the Pacific these key populations are generally injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men. In China, for example, 90% of HIV transmission is among people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men. Read more about HIV prevention in our publication ‘Don't stop now, finish the job!: Making HIV prevention funding work’.

Reaching key populations in Asia and the Pacific

To address the epidemic effectively services must reach key populations. That is the focus of Alliance Linking Organisations in the region.

For example, a key part of the Alliance’s programming is Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR), an ambitious project funded by the government of the Netherlands that aims to expand harm reduction services to more than 180,000 injecting drug users, their partners and children in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia (and Kenya). The project is being implemented by a consortium of Alliance linking organisations, along with a range of technical partners.

In order to reach men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender and hijra communities in India, Alliance India launched Pehchan, a five-year project which provides HIV prevention services. The project is funded by the largest Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria grant to date to strengthen HIV prevention programming for these marginalised groups. Simran Shaikh works on the programme and is an important representative of the hijra (transgender) community, and a powerful advocate for their rights. Read her story here.

The Alliance’s Regional Technical Support Hubs in India (serving South Asia) and Cambodia (serving South East Asia and the Pacific) build on regional knowledge and expertise in order to provide expert assistance to non-governmental and community-based organisations throughout the region.  The Hubs are hosted by Alliance linking organisations which are responsible for supporting thousands of community organisations in more than 40 countries. They provide a model of South-to-South technical assistance that strengthens local responses to HIV and AIDS. The Hubs are currently gearing up to provide a range of technical assistance on Global Fund proposal development and grant implementation for Round 11. The Hubs will be present at ICAAP, for more details see below.

The Alliance at ICAAP

Regional conferences such as ICAAP provide an important opportunity for the Alliance to reflect on the status of the HIV epidemic and response, to strengthen connections with community based organisations and Alliance Linking Organisations from across the region. ICAAP puts Civil Society and other key stakeholders in the same place giving the opportunity to identify and agree priorities to be taken into the future.

The Alliance’s Regional Technical Support Hubs, Alliance India and a trustee of the Alliance are all holding sessions at the conference. You can see a full list of Alliance activities at ICAAP here.

The meeting will also be attended by a team of Key Correspondents, citizen journalists from across the region. The team will be capturing the conference news that matters, as it happens, making sure the voices of those most affected by HIV across Asia and the Pacific are heard.  Find out more.

It will also see the launch of a new report which highlights the successes and challenges that civil society in the Southeast Asia and Pacific region has experienced when engaging with Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria processes.

Come and see us in the exhibition hall (booth 43) where we’ll be for the duration of the congress.