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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The UNAIDS family is deeply saddened by the death from COVID-19 of our dear colleague and friend, Manuel de Quinta. We offer our deepest condolences to his husband Ricardo and to his family and friends in general. 

Since 2017, Manuel worked as a UNAIDS Community Support and Human Rights Adviser for the multicountry UNAIDS Office for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. But many of us knew him in the many roles he held and the tremendous work he did around the world as part of the UNAIDS family for more than 24 years advocating for the rights and leadership of people living with HIV and the populations most vulnerable to HIV, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, migrants and refugees, sex workers, indigenous peoples and young people.

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COVID-19 continues to threaten the gains made in the HIV response and has brought inequalities to the forefront, but civil society and community-based organizations in Asia and the Pacific have been quick to respond to the pandemic. From the start, networks of people living with HIV and key populations responded to the global health crisis by coming up with innovative courses of action.

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Since the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS in 2016, the young key populations’ movement and its visibility have grown considerably in Asia and the Pacific. Through their engagement with national and regional networks of key populations, more and more young people have taken up space in decision-making processes and in mobilizing resources to support local and national organizations. However, despite those important efforts, more needs to be done to meaningfully engage young key populations in the HIV response as leaders, beneficiaries and partners.

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