The Alliance established a programme in Myanmar in 2004 to build the capacity of local organisations and community self-help groups to develop effective HIV prevention, care and support projects.
Myanmar is among the countries most affected by HIV in Asia. UNAIDS estimates that there are 240,000 people living with HIV in the country, and an HIV prevalence rate of 0.6% among adults.
Prevalence is highest among specific key populations including injecting drug users (37.5%), sex workers (16%), and men who have sex with men (29%). The HIV epidemic in Myanmar is mainly driven by sexual transmission. However HIV prevalence among injecting drug users is alarmingly high.
Among drug users the use of non-sterile injecting equipment is high, with 61% of injecting drug users reporting sharing contaminated needles. Furthermore, between 5% and 10% of sex workers report that they inject drugs .
Despite having the third largest HIV epidemic in Asia, Myanmar’s capacity to respond is among the lowest in the region. In recent years, international NGOs and UN agencies have begun to develop a more concerted response and community action has grown. Nonetheless Myanmar’s political environment still limits the operations of NGOs and the availability of funding, which falls far short of what is needed. For example, fewer than 20% of the 76,000 people in need of antiretroviral treatment are receiving it.
In late 2010 the Alliance secretariat completed a series of country studies reflecting information against the first three strategic directions from the Alliance’s strategic framework for 2008-2010, IMPACT 2010. Click here to download the country study for Myanmar.
Since 2011, Alliance Myanmar has been a sub recipient of the Global Fund Round 9 enabling the programme to continue its prevention, care and treatment work with key populations groups across Myanmar.
WHAT WE DO
Focus on key populations
The Alliance in Myanmar mobilises non-governmental and community-based organisations to incorporate HIV work in their programmes, and strengthens those already active in this area by providing funding and technical support to implementing partners.
Our programme targets key populations affected by HIV including people living with HIV, sex workers and men who have sex with men. Activities include outreach, peer education, community care and support, referral and treatment for STIs and opportunistic infections, voluntary counselling and HIV testing, condom distribution, positive living, income generation, psychosocial support, partnership building, formation of self help groups and advocacy. Several partners also work with orphans and vulnerable children, and EC funding was recently secured to expand these services.
Since 2009, we have also initiated a programme to deliver ARVs to people living with HIV through a Private Partnership for Public Health (PPPH) in Yangon.
The key principle of the programme has been to empower local communities to organise and manage the projects themselves. This is achieved through training in areas such as counselling, safe sex skills and communication/outreach, as well as organisational development skills such as project management, financial management, documentation, and participatory monitoring and evaluation. Educational materials, training resources and references have been developed and adapted to the local situation and language.
The Alliance treatment model is designed to provide a continuum of care and support through private practitioners for antiretroviral treatment as well as link Alliance partners for adherence support and home-based care, thus developing capacity of different range of stakeholders.
The Alliance is involved in policy and advocacy work supporting greater involvement of people living with HIV through the establishment of the Myanmar Positive Group, support to civil society networking through the 3N (National Network of NGOs), and participation in the national Technical and Strategic Group on HIV/AIDS and Technical Working Groups.
The political climate has been a key challenge to non-governmental organisations responding to HIV in Myanmar, and most local partners are not officially registered. Nevertheless our programme has shown that local organisations are able to operate effectively. Our experience highlights the need for constant advocacy to local authorities for acceptance of activities, and organisational development and technical capacity building to strengthen civil society.
Alliance Myanmar is a local implementing partner of Link Up (2013-16), a five country programme which aims to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people who are affected by HIV. The programme draws on the experiences of a consortium of organisations, and the existing strengths of the implementing partners. By ‘linking up’ we will make a significant contribution to the integration of sexual reproductive health and rights interventions.
Interventions focus on meeting the needs of young key populations (aged 10-24). In Myanmar the programme will work with people living with HIV and key population groups such as sex workers, MSM and transgender people to integrate sexual and reproductive health into existing programmes as an entry point to reach young people affected by HIV. SRH information and services will be tailored to groups to facilitate and overcome barriers to access such as fear of stigma, discrimination and of arrest.
You can read more about Link Up here.
Alliance Myanmar plans to continue delivering the treatment, care and support programme to key populations in Myanmar, under Global Fund Round 9, which enters phase 2 in 2013.
Alliance Myanmar also plans to expand current work in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for PLHIV and key populations and also into areas of Maternal and Child Health (MCH).
The Alliance will continue to support and build the capacity of networks for people living with HIV, including the Myanmar Positive Group, through the EC funded advocacy programme.