The Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific, Steve Kraus has started a three-day mission to Lao PDR which aims to strengthen the country’s efforts in accelerating its response to HIV. Last month Lao PDR was one of 58 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific to endorse the Report of the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV and AIDS, along with the Regional framework for action on HIV and AIDS beyond 2015 at the 71st session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Opinion Piece: Manisha Dhakal, Executive Director, Blue Diamond Society, Kathmandu, Nepal; Joe Wong, Programme Manager, Asia Pacific Transgender Network

This year began with such hope for transgender people in Nepal as the government announced citizens could identify as “other” on their passports. We were getting ready to celebrate the issuing of the first of these passports when disaster struck the country. Among the thousands of people who were killed by the earthquake which hit the Kathmandu area a little over a month ago, some were lesbian, gay, bisexual,  transgender, intersexual and questioning (LGBTIQ).

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ESCAP and UNAIDS welcome commitments by countries to accelerate efforts in response to HIV

BANKGOK (ESCAP News) — Heads of government, ministers and other high-level officials from 50 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific endorsed the Report of the Asia-Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV and AIDS, along with the Regional framework for action on HIV and AIDS beyond 2015 at the 71st session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Several ESCAP member States emphasized that the Regional Framework for Action on HIV and AIDS beyond 2015 was a useful tool for guiding national efforts towards accelerating action and investment in the HIV response to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. However, if the region is to reach that goal, the pace of progress needs to quicken. The next five years are crucial. UNAIDS has set new Fast-Track targets, which include reducing the number of new HIV infections in the region to 79 000 by 2020 from 350 000 in 2013. It is possible to reach this ambitious goal if countries follow the actions outlined in the report and regional framework.

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The Mayor of Mumbai, Snehal Ambekar, has pledged her support to accelerating the response to HIV in her city over the next five years, by signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities. She made the commitment during a global meeting in Mumbai on “Fast-Track Cities- Ending the AIDS Epidemic Cities: Achieving 90-90-90 Targets by 2020”.

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The Quezon City Government and UNAIDS Philippines Country Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 25 May, which aims to accelerate and expand the city’s response to HIV and end its AIDS epidemic by 2030.

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The man known as Geng Le, who launched Blued, the world’s largest gay dating smartphone application, was a respected police officer in China almost 20 years before he left the force in 2009 after fellow officers objected to working with him because of his sexual orientation.

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The clean energy company Hanergy Holding Group and UNAIDS have agreed to cooperate on philanthropic and corporate responsibility initiatives to achieve zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths in Africa.

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Caption: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé in Beijing, China, May 4, 2015. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed his support for the AIDS response during a meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Mark Dybul, on 4 May in Beijing, China.

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