Global partners call for new strategies to end HIV among key populations
22 February 2018 – More than 60 experts from global, regional and national organizations discussed new ways to address HIV among key populations at a high-level leadership meeting on 12–13 February 2018 in New Delhi, India.
The meeting, organized by the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, aimed to review the latest scientific evidence, as well as the recent achievements and challenges experienced in different countries. The discussions intended to identify the next strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage (UHC), with a focus on key populations.
Opening the meeting, the WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, underlined that "no one should be left behind under the UHC movement. We are obligated to focus on those who are most likely to be vulnerable, marginalized and in the greatest need."
Despite certain achievements, the evidence and experiences presented showed that HIV remains concentrated among key populations and their intimate partners across Asia. For the region to meet the global goals to end AIDS, renewed attention is clearly needed to reach key population groups, including men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people and people in prisons.
Discussions reviewed the report of the 2008 AIDS Commission in Asia, as well as the progress made and challenges experienced, such as emerging epidemics across the region and high HIV incidence rates in select pockets of every country.
Experts agreed on the need to highlight the related activities of key populations as a priority of the regional response to HIV. They also affirmed the need to reenergize the response at the local level, keeping community organizations at the centre.
The meeting was attended by representatives from civil society, key populations' organizations and academic institutions, as well as experts from global partner organizations including UNAIDS, the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Agency for International Development/Linkages.
The recommendations from this leadership meeting will guide WHO and partners in realigning HIV programmes to reach those “left behind”, in light of the movements to achieve UHC and to increase the efficiency, responsiveness and uptake of HIV services among key populations.