20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


WESA09 Role of MSM communities in rolling out "the WHO 2014 Consolidated Guidelines for HIV prevention, Diagnosis, treatment and Care for Key Populations" in the Asia Pacific
  Non-Commercial Satellite
Venue: Melbourne Room 2
Time: 23.07.2014, 18:30 - 20:30
Chair: Roy Wadia, United States

Organizer: Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), UNAIDS and WHO
In recognition that the HIV response remains inadequate with low coverage and access to services often inadequate and unacceptable especially among the key populations, WHO is planning to launch a consolidated guidance on HIV and key populations at AIDS 2014. In partnership, APCOM has also made a regional submission to WHO with good practice examples from its partners that will assist in improving the quality, coverage and equity of services and interventions for key populations, especially for MSM.

The Consolidated Guidelines will need to be rolled out and implemented at country-level, taking advantage of the AIDS 2014 being in Asia and the Pacific region with many stakeholders already attending the conference, a session is planned to strategize on how to best role out and monitor implementation of the recommendations pertaining to MSM at country-level.

Understanding the Consolidated KP Guidelines from MSM perspective
A. Ball, Switzerland


Current MSM and HIV context in Asia and the Pacific
N. Phanuphak, Thailand



Powerpoint
APCOM research, Pulling Together Community, Building Diversity, Achieving Sustainability for HIV Counselling and Testing
M. Poonkasetwattana, Thailand



Powerpoint

H. Mengije, China



Powerpoint

P. Palmos, Philippines



Powerpoint

W. Cheng, UNICEF
P. Zhao, WHO

Powerpoints presentations
APCOM research, Pulling Together Community, Building Diversity, Achieving Sustainability for HIV Counselling and Testing - Midnight Poonkasetwattana

- Han Mengije

- Phillip Salvador Palmos

- Wing-Sie Cheng



Rapporteur report

Community report by Leonard Raymond Tooley


WESA09:
Role of MSM communities in rolling out "the WHO 2014 Consolidated Guidelines for HIV prevention, Diagnosis, treatment and Care for Key Populations" in the Asia Pacific

Co Chaired by Roy Wadia and Cameron Murphy.

Dr Pengfei Zhao, WHO, and member of the governing board of Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health APCOM opened the session. He started by pointing out that there are 25,000,000 MSM in the Asia Pacific Region (APR), and that many not aware of their HIV status having little or no access to testing let alone treatment; unsurprisingly HIV infection rates in the MSM population are by far outstripping that of the general population. It was for this reason that this special session was going to be dedicated to discussing the MSM experience in the APR.

Andrew Ball of the WHO HIV Department then spoke offering an overview of the new WHO Guidelines for Key Populations. These Key Populations (KP) include:

  • MSM
  • People in Prisons
  • PWID (people who inject drugs)
  • Sex workers
  • Transgender women

Ball then went on to give present best estimates of HIV infection rates among each of the key populations. MSM had an HIV prevalence that was 13x that of the general population in urban areas.

MSM were noted as having poor access to, and uptake of, HIV and other health services. They also face stigma and discrimination, a situation that extended to their experiences with the health sector. Punitive laws and a hostile legal environments added further to their struggles and significantly impeded access to any HIV-related treatment or prevention services.

In light of the location of this year’s AIDS 2014 conference and with so many attendees being present from the APR it was deemed timely for the WHO to release consolidated guidance to assist in improving the quality, coverage and equity in services and interventions for KPs, especially MSM.

Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak from the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre spoke next and she demonstrated that through “normalizing” HIV testing by the use of “sexy” promos and give aways (incentives) in association with”Adams Love Online Communication Channels”  they could get more men to come in and test for HIV, and are worth checking out! 

These initiatives proved to be so successful there are plans to roll them out into more of Thailand’s provinces.

N. Phanuphak then spoke further on Thailand’s Recruit-Test-Treat-Retain cascade and how the “gaps” in  this innovative approach to HIV testing, treatment and adherence to treatment were being filled.

Midnight Poonkasetwattana introduced the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), which represents a diverse range of interests working together to advocate on, highlight, and prioritize HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men. He  spoke of the need for greater psycho social support in the MSM community in the APR and emphasized that fighting self stigma – the “why try?” effect – was key in addressing subjectively experienced stigma. He argued for improved male sexual health by increased investment, better coverage and quality of sexual health services for affected communities. This could be achieved through advocacy initiatives and a coalition of MSM and transgender community networks.

All in all the message from public health policy managers and service providers was pretty consistent across the APR. The need for greater access to testing and treatment, the de- stigmatization of MSM and the removal of restrictive and condemning laws in the region would significantly contribute to better health care outcome, particularly with respect to HIV.  

It is a pity that this particular session was so poorly attended, as was noted by the co-chairs of the session, given the subject’s importance to the region.

Prepared by Tony Judson




   

    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.