Catch up on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex news and issues around Asia and the Pacific in this latest edition of Equal Eyes.

March 2018

HIV, Health, and Wellness: In Australia’s state of New South Wales, a PrEP trial was so successful in recruiting participants, that researchers petitioned the government to double enrollment. With higher participation, they announced that new HIV infections had declined by a third over the previous year. As of 1 April, Australia began offering PrEP through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to subsidize costs and make it more accessible outside of research trialsRead More

UNAIDS is concerned that media reports which make reference to HIV research in the Philippines are being interpreted as saying that there is a new and untreatable strain of the virus in the country. 

There is no new strain of HIV which has been found in the Philippines. The variants of the virus found in the Philippines have not changed and are similar to the strains of the virus found in many parts of Asia and in other parts of the world.  Read More

SUVA, 14 March 2018:  A social media post featuring a man under arrest and being escorted by police because he allegedly contaminated chocolate products with HIV infected blood is being widely circulated. The posting requests people to avoid consuming the chocolate products for some weeks because of the alleged contamination. The postings make reference to a respected media source in an apparent attempt to establish the story’s credibility.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has made clear that it is not possible to contaminate a manufactured product such as chocolate with blood from a person living with HIV. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cannot live outside of the human body and can only be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions from infected individuals to an uninfected person. Individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day-to-day contacts such as kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing personal objects, food, or water. Read More

Universal screening of HIV and Syphilis among pregnant women is now a policy being implemented by the Government of India.  Preeti Sudan, the newly appointed Health Secretary has directed the national health sector towards the urgent need to strengthen strategies for scaling-up testing services for HIV and Syphilis at both public and private health care centres in the country for early detection and treatment of all found positive.

The prevention of parent-to-child transmission of HIV programme  was launched in 2002 and gathered momentum and has scaled-up, in the year 2016-17 a total of 30 million pregnancies were estimated of which 95% were registered for ANC, of the registered pregnant women 56% and 30% have been provided with free counselling and testing for HIV and Syphilis respectively. Read More

Catch up on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex news and issues around Asia and the Pacific in this latest edition of Equal Eyes.

24 January 2018 (updated)

HIV, Health, and Wellness: Over a year into India’s National AIDS Control Organization intervention to reduce the spread of HIV in prisons, program coordinators face challenges noting that inmates who engage in unsafe sex or share needles need harm reduction strategies and condoms.

Writing for Youth Ki Awaaz, Shambhavi Saxena explored the difficulties that sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and trans people face when trying to safely and affordably seek HIV treatment in India.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, officials announced a plan to start a voluntary ‘conversion therapy’ course for transgender women that will include medical, psychological, and religious components to return people “to normal lives”.

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Port Moresby, 25 January 2018: A ground-breaking study into HIV and STIs in Port Moresby has been praised by the Minister for Health, Hon Sir Puka Temu and by the Government’s key Health partners. The findings of the study provide an improved roadmap for treatment, care and provision of other services to key populations affected by HIV in the country.

The study, called Kauntim mi tu, was initiated by the National Department of Health and the National AIDS Council Secretariat, with funding support from the Government of Australia, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contributions for the study were also received from Cepheid, FHI360, Oil Search Foundation, Population Services International and the World Health Organization. Funding for Kauntim mi tu was administered by Oil Search Foundation, in its role as Global Fund HIV Principal Recipient for Papua New Guinea. Read More

Catch up on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex news and issues around Asia and the Pacific in this latest edition of Equal Eyes.

14 December 2017

From the UN: UNAIDS, the WHO, and UNFPA collaborated with Pakistan’s National Commission of Human Rights to launch the Transgender Empowerment Association of Pakistan. Among its tasks, the association will work to improve access to health care, HIV prevention services and treatment, and to generate economic opportunities.

The UNDP’s Being LGBTI Asia launched a new report: “Legal Gender Recognition: A Multi-Country Legal and Policy Review in Asia”. Assessing Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand, the report also incorporated the voices and perspectives of local transgender people.

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IMG_0867The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand has launched its new 2017–2030 National AIDS Strategy, which provides a road map for ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat in Thailand by 2030. Narong Pipatanasai, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of the National AIDS Committee, led the launch at the Government Complex in Bangkok, Thailand, on 13 September.

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