MANILA, 23 September 2015—A roadmap adopted today by nine countries in Asia charts a new course, which aims to accelerate the transition towards evidence informed prevention, treatment and support services for people who use drugs. The participants of the Third Consultation on Compulsory Centres for Drug Users (CCDU) which took place in Manila, Philippines this week recognized that current punitive approaches are failing and a paradigm shift from punitive laws and policies to voluntary community-based services is necessary.
On 20 September, Nepal took a historic step by adopting a new constitution, which protects lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from discrimination, violence, and abuse. The country is the first in Asia and joins only a handful of other countries to include equal rights protections for LGBTI people in its national constitution. UNAIDS spoke to Sanjay Sharma, a prominent LGBTI rights activist working with the Blue Diamond Society in Nepal about the new constitution.
The provocative photography essay Coming Out, which tells the story of a lesbian couple has stirred up a lot of passion on the internet. Arjun Kamath is the photographer behind this project. He started off as an engineering student in a university in Bangalore, India but soon realized that his heart was elsewhere. After taking a photography workshop, Arjun fell in love with this art form. When he completed his engineering degree, he moved to Los Angeles, USA where he is currently getting a Masters in Film and Television production. UNAIDS recently spoke to Arjun about what inspired and motivated him to create Coming Out.
As the academic school year gets into full swing in Thailand, Thammasat, one of the country’s most prestigious and progressive universities is making a Social Life Skills class mandatory for its incoming freshman. This new course aims to ensure students have the skills to lead a successful life and covers a wide range of subjects, including music, art, sports and a three hour session on sex, where part of the focus is on gender identity. Kritipat Chotidhanitsakul (Jimmy) has been invited to sensitize students about transgender issues and by the end of the school year is expected to have lectured to 8000 students. This is the first time Thammasat has made such a topic mandatory for new students.