Speech of H.E. Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau

H.E. Sir Ratu Epeli Nailatikau Speaker of Parliament and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for the Pacific Region.
Handover of ARV donation by UNAIDS, Atlanta Medicare Ltd and DFAT-Fiji to Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Monday 27 Sep 2021 at 3pm FPBS

• The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Dr. Ifereimi Waqanibete;
• The UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia Pacific- Mr Eamonn Murphy
• The Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Mr Paul Wilson
• The CEO, Atlanta Medicare Co Ltd – Mr Suphadej Amnuaysakul
• The UNAIDS Country Director, Thailand- Ms Patchara Benjarattanaporn
• The UNAIDS Country Director, Fiji and the Pacific- Ms Renata Ram
• The Staff of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services;
• Members of the media
• Ladies and Gentlemen

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SUVA, Fiji/ BANGKOK, Thailand, 28th September 2021 — Through an unprecedented effort that brought together multilateral and bilateral partners, communities and the private sector, people living with HIV in Fiji will continue to access live-saving antiretroviral treatment during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak of the Delta variant.

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“This is the name I identify with, and I was determined to have it recognized legally,” said Dimas Cahya (his real name isn’t used in this article), a transgender man from Medan, Indonesia.

Medan, a city of more than 2.4 million people, is a long way from Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. In Jakarta and Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, many transgender people have successfully changed their legal name to match their gender identity. However, this had never been done in Medan. Similar to the rest of the country, Medan is conservative, with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and issues deemed “immoral”. This was the challenge that Amek Adlian, the paralegal assigned to this case, had to face.

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Networks of key populations and community-based organizations in China have called for strengthened collaboration to improve and increase access to Internet-based HIV prevention services.

At the Seminar on Social Organization’s Involvement in Internet-Based HIV/AIDS Prevention, held in Chengdu, China, more than 60 representatives of 45 community-based organizations came together for two days to discuss how to utilize technology and innovations to support the HIV response. In particular, they explored how HIV prevention services can reach a wider range of people and how to encourage key populations to get tested for HIV and initiate treatment if needed.

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JAKARTA, 10 September 2021: UNAIDS in partnership with Australia has launched a new AUD2.7 million program in Indonesia. The program will support community-led organisations to improve prevention and testing services and address inequality, stigma, and discrimination for people living with HIV.

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“Communities must be allowed to sit in the driver’s seat and take control of their lives. They are not passengers that sit idle, but leaders capable of making changes,” said Aditya Wardhana, the Executive Director of the Indonesian AIDS Coalition (IAC). This is the motto that he lives by, a motto that drives the work of IAC and how communities and civil society are meaningfully engaged in the HIV response in Indonesia.

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ACON, one of Australia’s largest HIV organizations, working to promote HIV prevention strategies among gay men and other men who have sex with men in New South Wales, Australia, has recently launched a new campaign video that enlists some of Asia’s most popular social media influencers.

The campaign aims to raise awareness and promote the uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), particularly among Mandarin-speaking gay men and other men who have sex with men. The campaign addresses frequently asked questions about PrEP and features Fufu and Josh, also known on social media as FJ234, YouTube personalities with a following of 350 000 subscribers. The pair appear alongside a leading doctor and PrEP advocate, Stephane Wen-Wei Ku, who in the campaign breaks down information on PrEP through relatable and humorous conversations.

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Garfield and volunteers at Sisters Foundation in Pattaya, Thailand distributed emergency relief supplies to the transgender community during the first outbreak of COVID-19 in April 2020. Photo credit: APTN

More than a year has passed since the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, with some countries seeing dramatic surges in cases in recent months. Increasing inequality and stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV and key populations continue to disrupt peoples’ access to HIV prevention and treatment services.  

Since the first COVID-19 outbreak in the region, UNAIDS Asia Pacific has continued to work alongside regional key population networks to support communities to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Through a regional project ‘Strengthening the regional community response to the needs of key populations in the context of COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific’ funded by UNAIDS AP, with general support from the Department of Foreign and Trade of Australia (DFAT), key population networks promoted access to relevant and timely information about COVID-19 targeted to key populations and people living with HIV, assessed their challenges and needs and recorded best practices from community-led responses. 

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