300 HIV and community health advocates from across Asia and the Pacific have gathered in Bangkok this week for a milestone event that aims to map out new approaches to tackling the region’s HIV epidemic and its impact on people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
The RRRAP Summit – which stands for Rights, Resources and Resilience Asia Pacific – is a five-day event taking place at the Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel from 13 – 17 November. It includes the three-day summit followed by two days of community seminars and strategic planning. The RRRAP Summit is an initiative of APCOM, a leading regional HIV and SOGIE community network which this year is marking ten years of service to the communities it works with across Asia and the Pacific.
APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana says while much has been achieved in relation to the region’s broad response to HIV over the last 10 years, the epidemic in Asia and the Pacific is threatening to spiral out of control among transgender people and men who have sex with men (MSM).
“The impact that HIV is having on MSM and transgender communities in Asia and the Pacific is escalating at an alarming rate, with researchers estimating that MSM in the region will account for more than 150,000 new transmissions by 2020, around half of the total number of projected new infections,“ Mr Poonkasetwattana says. “In major cities such as Bangkok and Jakarta, one third of MSM are HIV positive, and in the Philippines, MSM account for over 80% of new transmissions."
Countering the rise of conservative social and political forces in the region is a major theme, as is developing new and innovative funding models to address the shifting international aid agenda. There’s a broad focus on health issues related to HIV, MSM and transgender people, but there are also sessions dedicated to more specific issues such as drug use, sex work, young people, mental health and ageing. Read more via APCOM