Ali Raza Khan
2021 HERO Awards recipient of the HIV Hero
Ali Raza Khan from Pakistan is the 2021 HERO Awards recipient of the HIV Hero category announced on 26 November 2021.
“We need to reduce these inequalities and focus on the needs and demands of people of other identities.”
I started working as a volunteer on HIV awareness and prevention with HYPE national youth group of Rutgers in Pakistan during my university days in 2015 . I continued my volunteer work for the community along with different organizations including FDI, Aahung, ACT, ISYD, YAN, KSS and APLHIV. I started my full-time job for PLHIV with Trans Welfare Organization, a CBO working on HIV in the TG community. TWOCBO gave me the opportunity to speak about the PLHIV community. Later on, when I joined Wasaib Sanwaro, a CBO working for MSM, I amplified my efforts by representing PLHIVs at international platforms. I decided to start my own initiative “Hi Voices” because many PLHIV lack required skills and knowledge to raise their voices and there is a lack of dedicated platforms for YPLHIV empowerment. At national level. I’m currently trying to counter this situation by arranging capacity building training for YPLHIVs under the Young Positive People of Pakistan Program. In addition to these efforts, I’m empowering PLHIV at the regional and global level through The PACT and YPEER program. I’m also trying to influence stakeholders and policy makers via Youth LEAD and as a member of the Communities Delegation in the board of The Global Fund.
I am currently working on a project named Young Positive People of Pakistan which, under the “Hi Voices” initiative empowers young people living with HIV. In this program, I conduct capacity building related to human rights for young people affected by HIV and I run advocacy campaigns for the inclusion of girls in matters related to their health and rights. I am also engaged with international networks and organizations working on health and rights of young people.
AIDS Day 2021 highlights a very important message and commitment, especially in the case of Pakistan and other countries in the region where there is an increase of HIV cases. All these trends highlight rights abuses and the issue of unequal access to health care facilities and services for key populations most affected by HIV. Countries that were able to control the number of new cases has worked towards ending these inequalities by advocating for access to health care facilities for people of different sexual and gender identities. We need to reduce these inequalities and focus on the needs and demands of people of other identities. The High-Level Meeting on HIV in 2021 also brought together countries for the global cause to jointly tackle HIV together.
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Featured image: Delivering Capacity Building Session to Young Key Populations by Ali Raza Khan