The word “crisis” is so overused and yet it is difficult to use any other word or phrase to describe the state of the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men and transgender persons. Some three decades into the global AIDS response, the epidemic’s spread among these long marginalized and neglected populations is rapidly escalating and currently represents a major source of new infections in many countries in Asia. The burden from this growing and complex challenge constitutes an extraordinary crisis for governments and communities, for health systems and service providers – a crisis that cuts across public health, politics and the socio-cultural matrix. Within the Asia region, this unfolding crisis brought together governments, civil society including community activists, donors (notably USAID), other development partners, and UN agencies (particularly UNDP, WHO, UNAIDS and UNESCO ) to increase access to treatment, care and support, and create synergies with other initiatives being undertaken. This extraordinary mobilization paved the way for the “Asia Regional Consultation on MSM HIV/AIDS Care and Support” which was convened by USAID, USCDC and the UNDP in partnership with WHO, UNAIDS, Asia Pacific Network of Positive People (APN+), and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM). A steering committee from these and other regional organizations guided the development of the agenda and content. Participants from communities and governments reiterated that the partnership between communities and the health sector remains key to improving access to treatment, care and support by promoting male sexual health; generating and analyzing strategic information; and supporting health systems free of stigma and discrimination, thereby helping guarantee sustainability of these efforts. It is against this background that the present document was developed. It articulates the leadership and contribution that the communities and the health sector in partnership with donors and the UN system can provide to respond to the HIV crises among men who have sex with men and transgender persons in the region. This supporting document was conceived as a joint collaboration between USAID and the UNDP, in partnership with Family Health International (FHI).
Copyright: Technical Assistance and Support Contract, 3 (TASC3) under Task Order 2