During the recent 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (9th ICAAP) held in Bali, Indonesia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) working in close collaboration with government, non government and United Nations partners helped raise the policy profile on key issues affecting the HIV epidemics in the Asia-Pacific Region with a series of cross-cutting, high-level symposiums. This symposium report aims to highlight the key messages conveyed by panelists, issues raised, and points to the way forward for further action.
The “Overcoming legal barriers to comprehensive prevention among men who have sex with men and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific” Symposium was jointly convened by APCOM and UNDP to discuss how effective and comprehensive HIV prevention among men who have sex with men and transgender people can take place in a conducive and enabling legal environment.
Under the dramatic rising tide of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men and transgender people in the region, the high level panel demonstrated that developing strategic partnerships and alliances between the legal profession, human rights bodies, academics, parliamentarians and affected communities is critical to successfully address discriminatory legal and structural barriers that impede effective and comprehensive HIV services for these populations.
A strategy of comprehensive prevention requires bold and effective policy measures to reach out to communities and individuals at risk. It is here that enhanced social protection and the removal of punitive laws, policies and practices concerning men who have sex with men and transgender populations must be seen as affording important steps in the path of reducing the impact of HIV on these highly marginalized populations.
In order to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and realize the Millennium Development Goals, we must facilitate an enabling legal environment and human rights based HIV policies and programmes for men who have sex with men and transgender people. This will mean stepping up our joint investment in social and legal programmes which effectively address discrimination and stigmatization among men who have sex with men and transgender people.