The strategy “Intensifying the response: Halting the spread of HIV” will guide Australia’s response to the growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region. Its goals include intensifying HIV prevention, optimising the role of health services within HIV responses, and strengthening coordination and capacity to scale up activities.
"Having made a submission to the strategy consultation, the Alliance is pleased to see that the Strategy addresses our key concerns for the Asia/Pacific region," said Alan Brotherton, Senior Policy Officer for the Alliance.
"We especially welcome the renewed focus on men who have sex with men in Southeast Asia, who have been largely neglected by HIV programmes, and the recognition of the importance of policy frameworks and civil society mobilisation. This document builds on the widely acknowledged strengths of Australia’s domestic response to HIV and represents a significant step forward in terms of partnership and civil society collaboration."
In line with the new strategy, the Alliance has secured US$460,000 from the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program (AusAID) for a 20-month project to fund the development of an East & South East Asia Technical Support Hub. The new facility will be hosted by the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (KHANA), the Alliance linking organisation in Cambodia.
The Regional Technical Support Hub aims to boost community involvement in the response to HIV by providing technical support services to targeted organisations in the East and South East Asia Pacific region. It will foster the existing capacity of national indigenous organisations and local expertise to build the capacity of community based groups.
The main focus will be on those working with injecting drug users, people living with HIV and men who have sex with men.
Precedence will be given to priority partners and AusAID priority countries, such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Support will also be targeted at civil society groups that are principal recipients or major sub-recipients of Global Fund grants, to more effectively mobilise resources for community-based work.
The Regional Technical Support Hub in Cambodia will be one of six such facilities around the world. These centres, hosted within Alliance linking organisations, provide a model of South-to-South technical assistance that strengthens local responses to HIV and AIDS.