APCOM x ASHM: Statement on Community and Health Workforce Collaboration to Eliminate HIV in Asia and the Pacific

By April 3, 2024 Advocacy

APCOM in collaboration with ASHM held a roundtable discussion at the 12th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Generously hosted by WHO, the roundtable brought together community, the Australian government, UNAIDS, and government and health workers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,  Tonga and Thailand to discuss ways to improve community and health workforce collaborations to eliminate HIV in Asia and the Pacific, given the alarming statistics: 

Status of the HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific

2023 Global AIDS Update – The Path that End AIDS

  • 6.5 million people living with HIV in the Asia Pacific region
  • 300,000 new HIV infections 
  • 150,000 AIDS-related deaths
  • 4.2 million people on treatment 

In 2022: 

  • 96% of new HIV infections were among key populations (gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who use drugs) and their partners.
  • Most of these cases were in gay and other men who have sex with men (46%), followed by clients of sex workers and sex partners of key populations (24%), people who inject drugs (12%), sex workers (11%), and transgender women (3%)
  • Quarter of new HIV infections in Asia and the Pacific are among young key populations
  • PrEP has the potential to markedly lower HIV incidence but Asia-Pacific needs to pick up the pace and transition from pilot projects to national roll-out

In 2021:

  • 76% of people living with HIV in Asia Pacific were diagnosed.
  • 66% of all people living with HIV were on treatment.
  • 60% of all people living with HIV were virally suppressed. 

Recommended Actions:

  • Focus HIV prevention programmes and funding on young key populations 
  • Engage youth-led organisations in planning, implementing and monitoring HIV programmes to ensure programmes are inclusive of young people
  • Adopt differentiated service delivery methods to meet the needs and realities of young key populations, including by maximizing mobile technologies, social media and telemedicine 
  • Make access to PrEP, harm reduction, condoms, HIV self-testing kits easier for young key populations
  • Remove human rights barriers by reforming laws and policies hampering young key populations’ access to services
  • Collect and use disaggregated data on young key populations for advocacy

The discussion centered on: 

  • How to strengthen collaboration between health care workers and key population groups/organizations in supporting the scale up and innovative interventions and differentiate HIV services across the continuum of prevention, treatment and care cascade.
  • Getting to 95-95-95, 10-10-10, and 30-60-80 targets
  • Sharing of examples of good collaboration and initiatives in improving quality of services and quality of life, enabling environment/changes in laws and policy, and sustainability

We need to scale up investment for prevention in our region, and to scale up innovative interventions and differentiate HIV services across the continuum of prevention, treatment and care cascade.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis scale up is woefully too slow to affect the course of the HIV epidemic: We’re only reaching an abysmal 3% PrEP users in 2022, and we need to programme long-acting injectable PrEP in our region.  

In our region the following countries have rising HIV infections: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Timor-Leste. 

Countries with an increase in AIDS-related deaths in our region are:  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

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