France’s 5% Initiative and APCOM Announce an Exciting New Partnership Pledging 1.3 million Euros for Epidemiological and Behavioural Online Research Targeting Young MSM in Greater Mekong Region

By July 20, 2016 Newsroom

20 July 2016, Durban, South AfricaFrance’s 5% Initiative and APCOM are pleased to announce today at the 21st International AIDS Conference a 1.3 Million Euro partnership to conduct a 3-year research, capacity strengthening and advocacy project targeting young gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Greater Mekong Countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The goal of the research is to have region-wide new epidemiological and behavioural data on young MSM describing syndemic conditions of HIV risk behaviours through web-based surveys.

The new data will significantly contribute to the development of second generation HIV service response aimed at young MSM. The research project is funded by the 5% Initiative to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It is the second way in which France contributes to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). Responsibility for the operational implementation of the Initiative has been entrusted to Expertise France, the French Agency for international technical expertise, under the supervision of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.

France is extremely proud to partner with APCOM in the coming years; we strongly believe that much remain to be done reaching out to young key populations, especially men who have sex with men,” says Eric Fleutelot the Regional Counsellor in Global Health for the Embassy of France in Thailand, “APCOM, together with its local partners, will make sure that social and sexual behavior among young MSM is better understood. It should lead to more appropriate services, enhancing the use of Global Fund funding. Given the HIV incidence and prevalence among young MSM, we are facing a health emergency and uniting our strength is a way to ensure that health programmes meet the expectations and needs of these adolescents and young adults.”
There is absence of recent epidemiological and behavioural data on young MSM in the Mekong countries to support evidence-based programmes specifically designed for them. This has proven to be a major setback in the HIV response. HIV prevalence among young MSM in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR were 5.3%, 8.8%, 1.1% and 2.0% respectively. The data available also do not describe HIV risk behaviours among adolescent MSM. In the meantime, scientists now believe that the key to successful HIV programming lies in these factors like homophobia, bullying and violence, family and peer pressure or support, resilience, and gay-related developmental issues.Internet and other mobile technologies are providing new opportunities to reach large numbers of MSM in these countries, who can remain anonymous and safe to participate in this type of research. These data will help inform local, regional and international policies in terms of advocacy and allocation of HIV-related resources and funding for programmes on the ground.

“There has been a dearth of data on adolescent and young MSM, in the Greater Mekong region where social media is increasingly playing a crucial part of lives of young gay men”, says of APCOM’s Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana. He continues, “APCOM is very excited about the partnership with 5% Initiative, as the project is equipped with policy and advocacy elements, and research component that will be supported by Mahidol University. APCOM will also be providing technical support to the MSM community partners so that they are empowered to use the information for their own advocacy.”
Midnight's Engagement v3

About French’s 5% Initiative
With an annual contribution of €360 million (for 2014-2016), France is the 1st European donor and the 2nd donor worldwide to the Global Fund. Since the end of 2011, the 5% Initiative, France’s indirect contribution to the Global Fund, meets the need for technical expertise in countries, especially French-speaking countries, in order to assist the latter in the design, implementation and monitoring & evaluation of Global Fund grants. With an annual budget of €18 million per year, the 5% Initiative is implemented by Expertise France, the French agency for international technical expertise.Learn more about 5% Initiative at:

Twitter: @Initiative5PC
Contact Person: Louise Virault at [email protected]
Expertise France Office: 73, rue de Vaugirard, Paris 75006
+33 (0)1 70 82 74 47

Founded in 2007, APCOM is a coalition of members – governments, UN partners, non-profits andcommunity based organisations – from Asia and the Pacific. We represent a diverse range of interests working together to advocate on, highlight and prioritise HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM)* and transgender people, including rights, health and well-being.

Learn more about APCOM at:
Twitter: @APCOM
Media Enquiries: Safir Soeparna at [email protected]
+27 (0) 636731855
APCOM Office: 66/1 Sukhumvit Soi 2, Bangkok 10110

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