APCOM calls on its partners to respond to PEPFAR to provide feedback on its $100 M Key Populations Investment Fund

By July 28, 2016 Research

APCOM together with its partners is at the forefront to advocate for increased investments in stronger HIV and Human rights interventions for MSM people in the Asia & Pacific region. As one of the steps, APCOM submitted joint letters to donor’s (Global Fund, WHO, UNAIDS & PEPFAR) appealing for more investments for MSM in the Asia region which was endorsed by more than 200 community-led organisations.

We also proposed the establishment of the MSM Community Fast Track Programme Platform to act as a mechanism for policy advocacy around investments, quality HIV programming, securing equal rights and opportunities for MSM, gay and bisexual men and especially young cohorts. The establishment of this platform offers an opportunity for south-to-south/community-to-community technical assistance and learning for quality, effective community programming at scale. It will also serve to support the sustainability of community programming and service provision by providing focused capacity development support, often facilitate difficult dialogues with the major stakeholders and government institutions and assess the readiness of organisations for difficult transitions. The Platform will ensure that the right mix of technical and financial resources are applied for innovative, community-managed and led HIV responses that will contribute to the realization of Fast Track targets by 2020.

The recently announced $100 million Key Populations Investment Fund by PEPFAR is expected to support both proven and innovative, tailored, community-led approaches to address critical issues and gaps that exist for key populations in the HIV/AIDS response. APCOM has demonstrated innovative effective community-led ICT based testing campaign testbkk, advocating for PrEP, launched the MSM Framework, which encompasses various strategies/approaches for successful service delivery interventions and recently announced France’s 5% Initiative a 3-year study which will highlight the epidemiological and behavioral data around young gay men. All our programmes in the region have proven the effectiveness and benefits of community managed and led advocacy and policy influencing work, directly resulting in tangible progress in some countries for the roll-out of PrEP services and the use of ICT-based outreach and testing model.

As a next step, APCOM and its country partners stand ready to assist PEPFAR to ensure that underserved populations of MSM across Asia are able to access and utilize the resources in an efficient, evidence-based and accountable manner, in line with the strategic programme directions of PEPFAR 3.0. The fund is expected to address the complex issues that create barriers to HIV prevention and treatment services that continue to keep communities like us at the margins of the AIDS response. This includes:

  • acceptance of human rights of all persons, without distinction;
  • access to quality services for key populations;
  • systematic and rigorous monitoring of stigma and discrimination combined with clear actions to mitigate stigma and discrimination;
  • availability of data on population size and utilization of prevention & treatment services by key populations; and
  • improving the capacity of key populations-led community-based organizations to advocate for changes in policies and directly implement services.

This Investment Fund will work to identify, measure, and change the complex dynamics driving stigma, discrimination, and violence. It will support multi-year and comprehensive approaches ensuring key population-led community-based organizations are directly funded to develop and improve their capacity for sustainable HIV responses at the local level driven by data and accountability. The Investment Fund provides an opportunity to scale-up effective programs and disseminate them widely.

The PEPFAR countries in Asia are as follows:

  • Regional: China, Lao PDR & Thailand
  • Country: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam

Feedback Requested: 
PEPFAR has created a feedback window for community organisations to assist PEPFARin meeting its programme objectives and advancing the Fast Track agenda in Asia with underserved MSM communities.

Why is it important for CSOs to provide feedback?
It is an opportunity for CSOs to highlight their needs for a comprehensive HIV programme for MSM in Asia and the Pacific, which will be inclusive of qualitative health services, equal rights, social protection and policy advocacy. Our opinions will ensure that resources are invested in the right places, right services and for the right people to achieve the ambitious 90-90-90 target. Even the evidence shows why it is important to invest in MSM programming;

  1. 50% of new HIV infections will be amongst MSM by 2020,
  2. High HIV incidence in urban centers is going to be among young MSM,
  3. Only 50% of the MSM population undergoes HIV testing,
  4. 90% of MSM do not have access to HIV prevention due to discriminatory laws,
  5. 18 out of 38 countries in Asia and the Pacific criminalize same-sex sexual activities, with imprisonment, corporate punishment, and death,
  6. Share of total HIV prevention spending for MSM is less than 7%,
  7. New strategies like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV Self-Testing and ICT-based interventions are not yet being rolled out,
  8. Condom usage still low than 50%,
  9. More than 17% of the MSM are married.

APCOM would like to encourage you all to provide very specific feedback to PEPFAR; it is important to highlight issues/problems however it is more important to provide appropriate solutions with examples and explain how this funding can be optimally utilized for evidence-based and sustained HIV and Human Rights programming.

Please click here before 1 August 2016 to provide feedback. If you feel the need for support to complete the feedback form, please write to us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist you.