Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

UNAIDS welcomes ESCAP’s theme topic of “inequality in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Inequalities affect all socio-economic aspects of development and are key drivers of new HIV infections. UNAIDS works with the marginalized among us. Day-to-day we see the negative impact of inequalities on all aspects of their lives, and the increased vulnerabilities that push them further behind. We believe, however, that the HIV/AIDS response model can also be transformed into a pathfinder for addressing structural inequalities and vulnerabilities in many different fields.

When in September 2015 the world’s leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they pledged to leave no one behind. The agenda sets out a vision for sustainable development grounded in international human rights standards, to ensure healthy lives and build inclusive societies. It puts respect for equality and non-discrimination at the centre of its goals. Read More

At the young age of nine years old, Pawan was told by his doctor that he is HIV positive. He was left in the care of his uncle and his family after both of his parents died from AIDS-related illnesses. “My clothes and cutleries are often segregated, and they would often confine me in certain areas of the house,” Pawan said. “It was difficult because I faced discrimination from my family. I wanted to end my life.”

Pawan was among the 40 adolescents living with HIV who joined the TeenGen Leadership Programme on 3-7 May 2018 in Goa, India. A local NGO, Human Touch, hosted the workshop with support from UNAIDS India Office and Youth LEAD, a regional network of young key populations in Asia and the Pacific. TeenGen uses interactive games and activities that enable adolescents to participate proactively while at the same time building their knowledge, leadership and communication skills. Read More

Mawlamyine, 20 to 21 April 2018 – Innovative practices in implementing HIV programmes at the city-level were at the center of discussions during an ASEAN regional consultation meeting held in Mawlamyine, Myanmar. Some of the best practices cited were having same day diagnosis and treatment for people living with HIV (PLHIV) to reduce loss to follow-up and creating a ‘one-stop’ shop approach that is targeted towards the need of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) people. 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.

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”.

Read More