HIV now affects men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in much greater proportions than the general population. Projections of the HIV epidemic in Asia indicate that close to 50 percent of all new HIV infections occurring annually will be identified among MSM by 2020. In many Asian cities MSM already make up the majority of new HIV infections. Experts now recognize that in order to stop the spread of HIV among MSM and transgender people, limiting access to health care and prevention services and failure to fully recognize other basic individual rights must stop. Access to adequate health services and social support programmes is a fundamental human right.
In response, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Health Organization (WHO) have released a new regional training package that will build capacity of health care providers in the Asia-Pacific region to address prevention, care and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV among men who have sex with men and transgender people and reduce stigma in health care settings. The package, entitled ‘The Time Has Come’ Enhancing HIV, STI and other sexual health services for MSM and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific, is being formally launched at the 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP 11) on 22 November.
The training package was jointly developed based upon recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law report HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Health (2012), the WHO Prevention and treatment of HIV and other STIs among MSM and transgender people: Recommendations for a public health approach (2011) and the UNESCAP Resolutions 67/9 (2011) and 66/10 (2010). UNDP supported the development and pilot testing of this training package under the ISEAN-HIVOS Multi-Country Global Fund Programme (ME1-011-G01-H).