Episode 2: On understanding community needs

In this second episode, we talk with Thomas Cai about his experience working with people who use drugs in Asia to help provide treatment and other services they need to live a life of dignity.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the globe, it became clear that fears of contracting COVID-19, misinformation and subsequent stigma were major factors deterring people seeking HIV prevention and treatment services. In response to these insights, regional key population networks from Asia and the Pacific, including ANPUD, APCOM, APN+, APNSW, APTN, ICW AP, Youth LEAD and the IATT on YKP, in collaboration with UNAIDS, came together to implement a regional project to promote access to relevant and timely information about COVID-19 targeted to key populations, and record best practices from community-led responses.

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While pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been shown to be highly efficacious, with up to 99% protection if the drug is taken as directed, delivering a successful PrEP program is challenging. A recent analysis of the Ashodaya PrEP demonstration project, which provided pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to female sex workers in south India, provides insights to help strengthen PrEP and HIV prevention programs and accelerate implementation beyond demonstration and pilot projects.

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Episode 1: On women who use drugs

In this first episode, we talk with Rosma about her experiences going through over 17 different types of drug treatment and rehabilitation programmes in Indonesia. She bravely opens up about how she started using drugs, struggles with her family, and why she believes it is important to talk about her difficult experiences.

The Interagency Task Team on Young Key Populations (IATT on YKPs) in Asia Pacific, with support from Youth LEAD, UNAIDS, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and UNDP, is delighted to announce the launch of its new website www.ykptaskteam.org

The goal with this new website is to gather and pool together available information and guidance on COVID-19 that cater to young key populations (YKPs) and young people living with HIV (PLHIV) from Asia and the Pacific. This platform will serve as an online resource to document and communicate on the challenges YKPs face in the pandemic as well as their approaches in identifying gaps, solutions and innovations in their responses to COVID-19. Navigating the different sections of the page, you will also find analysis of the findings from COVID-19 and YKP surveys, resources available for YKPs, stories and lived experiences from young people across the region. Read More

“I thought when my parents took me to rehabilitation, it was like when something is wrong with your car, and you take it to the service center. When your car comes out of the service center, the car will be good.” Rosma Karlina

When we think about people who use drugs, there is a tendency to refer to drug rehabilitation centers as the solution, and without thinking about the importance of what the person actually needs or wants. Moreover, for women who use drugs, their experiences too often involve stigmatization, marginalization, and violence. Little is known about what happens in the many drug rehabilitation and treatment centers around Asia and whether they are helping or hurting. Conditions in drug rehabilitation centers can be overcrowded and poor, and fail to treat people with the standard of health and human rights that each of us deserve. Read More

Beijing, 17 August 2020 – UNAIDS lauds China’s decision to approve Truvada, an HIV medicine, for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP),  as an additional prevention choice for people at risk of HIV infection, but more work needs to be done to make it accessible and affordable for all those who need it.

“UNAIDS commends the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China for approving Truvada for PrEP use,” says Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “This is an important step in addressing what has been a critical gap in HIV prevention.” Read More

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere, but the impact is especially severe among people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized and among people with underlying medical conditions.

Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruption the pandemic has caused, and many are now at risk of being left behind in education, economic opportunities, and health during a crucial phase of their development. For young key populations (YKPs) – including young people living with HIV, young gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender youth, young sex workers, young people who use drugs, young migrants and prisoners – already facing challenges and disenfranchisement from the wider community, the hardships they face in employment, household settings, livelihood and social protections have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More