Pehchan featured in Lancet article!

During the plenary session at AIDS 2012 that presented The Lancet special issue on HIV in MSM, a photo from Pehchan is used to highlight the critical role of community leadership in the HIV response for sexual minorities.

The Lancet — one of the world’s best known, oldest, and most respected medical journals — released a special themed issue at AIDS 2012 describing some progress and the many ongoing challenges in the HIV epidemic affecting MSM and transgender populations around the world.

Among the articles is “From Personal Survival to Public Health: Gay and MSM Community Leadership in the HIV Response,”  a remarkable analysis of the critical role that MSM and transgender community leadership has played in responding to HIV/AIDS. Heroic efforts in the 1980s and 1990s such as ACT UP in the United States and elsewhere and passionate and engaged advocacy in Brazil, Thailand and South Africa and other countries laid a foundation that has been essential to motivating action to address the needs of vulnerable MSM and transgender people. As the article points out, this work continues today and the voices are only getting louder.

Among other notable initiatives, the article describes Pehchan, our five-year Global Fund-supported programme that is building the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) by and for MSM, transgenders and hijras in 17 states to partner successfully with the Government of India’s HIV prevention interventions through NACO and the State AIDS Control Societies and reach more than 450,000 community members.

India HIV/AIDS Alliance and the other organisations in the Pehchan consortium — Humsafar Trust, SAATHII, Sangama, and SIAAP — along with our 200 CBO partners are thrilled that our programme has been included in the Lancet special issue on HIV in MSM. Pehchan is unfortunately a rare example in the global response of collaboration at national scale between MSM and transgender civil society, government and a donor. As one of our AIDS 2012 posters describes, this can be a successful model, however we need more governments like India’s who have the political will to protect the health and wellbeing of high-risk groups vulnerable to HIV.

Central to successful efforts in India and elsewhere has been community leadership: to define needs, design responses and implement them effectively. By engaging the voices of MSM and transgender people, efforts to control HIV can empower marginalised sexual minority communities — building a transformative social movement and creating resiliance to the epidemic’s brutality.

The article can be read here.

Full contents of the special issue can found here.

(This issue of the Lancet may be reviewed free of charge, however registration is required.)

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The author of this post, James Robertson, is Country Director of India HIV/AIDS Alliance. 

With support from the Global Fund, Pehchan builds the capacity of 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) for men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras in 17 states in India to be more effective partners in the government’s HIV prevention programme. By supporting the development of strong CBOs, Pehchan will address some of the capacity gaps that have often prevented CBOs from receiving government funding for much-needed HIV programming. Named Pehchan which in Hindi means ‘identity’, ‘recognition’ or ‘acknowledgement,’ this programme is implemented by India HIV/AIDS Alliance in consortium with Humsafar Trust, SAATHII, Sangama, and SIAAP and will reach 453,750 MSM, transgenders and hijras by 2015. It is the Global Fund’s largest single-country grant to date focused on the HIV response for vulnerable sexual minorities.

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Sneak Preview: Alliance India Sessions, Thursday, July 26 at AIDS 2012

Our work has received tremendous interest and response with HIV clinicians, researchers, advocates, activists, and others from across the globe. Through the course of AIDS 2012: XIX International AIDS Conference, Alliance India has presented programming experiences highlighting the challenges and successful approaches used in integrated programmes specific to key populations such as MSM and Transgender people, Sex Workers, PLHIV and People Who Use Drugs.

Today, 26 July Alliance India staff and trustees are participating in a panel discussion, oral session, poster presentations, satellite session and a press conference. The roadmap gives more details including timing and location of all these sessions. Don’t miss our sessions! We look forward to sharing with you what we’re doing in India to turn the tide against the epidemic.

Satellite session

How Can Civil Society Measure Value for Money and Prove Their Worth?          Mini Room 10, 7:00-8:30am

The session is organised by Alliance and the World Bank. The panel will discuss on the increasing importance to demonstrate aid effectiveness and value for money. It will include India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Kaushik Biswas, Manager for Monitoring and Evaluation, for a complete overview of session visit here.

Oral Session

Internalized homophobia and transphobia, low self-esteem and non-disclosure of sexual identity as factors contributing to HIV vulnerability of men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras: Experience from the Global Fund supported Pehchān                                                                                                  Session Title: MSM: The Impact of Internal and External Stigma on a Personal and Social Level, Session Room 8, 2:30-4:00pm

Panel Discussion

On the Edge of the Cliff: Debating the Challenges of the Response

The panel discussion will include India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Charanjit Sharma, Program Manager for Hridaya, the Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) program in India.                                                                                                                       Regional Session: Asia and the Pacific Thursday, July 26, Session Room 5, 2:40pm-4:00pm

Poster Exhibition

Reaching men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgenders in SRHR/HIV Integration: Recommendations from a global intervention review to identify strategies to increase the responsiveness and relevance of integrated programming to address SRHR needs of high-risk groups        

                                                          

Mobilizing community collectivization among female sex workers (FSWs) to promote STI service utilization from the government health care system: Experience from Avahan in Andhra Pradesh, India

       

Strengthening case finding through verbal TB screening among most at risk populations in concentrated epidemics: Experience from Avahan in Andhra Pradesh, India

                                                                                                      

Combination Collaboration: Leveraging government commitment, donor processes and community mobilization to develop a national program to build the capacity of MSM and transgender populations as HIV prevention partners: Making the Global Fund-supported Pehchan program in India

Thursday, July 26, Exhibition Hall, Level 2

Press Conference

Turning the Tide: Addressing SRH Needs of Key Populations in AIDS Programs   Media Center Press Conference Room 2, 3:30-4:00pm

Over the course of AIDS2012, Alliance India has presented 18 posters detailing our work. You can view or download them through our blog page. Come visit and know more about Alliance’s work at the exhibition booth #102. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org.

Join Alliance India Sessions on Wednesday, July 25 at AIDS 2012

India HIV/AIDS Alliance has lined up an action packed day for you today (Wednesday 25 July) at the International AIDS conference, you are cordially invited to attend all our sessions to learn more about our work in India to improve the AIDS response for communities most affected by the epidemic. Our commitment is to make sure the voices of these communities are heard at AIDS 2012 and beyond.

Our sessions today range from a panel discussion to oral presentations and poster exhibits, and highlight our experiences in a wide variety of areas, including reaching key populations in SRH/HIV integration; addressing the unmet sexual and reproductive health and rights of people living with HIV; mobilizing female sex workers to increase STI service utilization; findings from our baseline study on people who inject drugs and why we should support the decriminalisation of drug use; and more!

Panel Discussion

Criminalise Hate Not HIV: Why the HIV/AIDS community should support the decriminalisation of drug use.

Organised by INPUD, HRI, IPPF, IFRC and the Alliance, this panel is chaired by Prasada Rao, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV in Asia and the Pacific and an Alliance Trustee.                                                                                              Wednesday, July 25, Global Village Harm Reduction Zone, 11:00am-12:00 noon

Oral Presentation                                                                                                   

Reaching Key Populations in SRH/HIV integration: Recommendations from a global intervention review to identify strategies to increase the responsiveness and relevance of integrated programming to the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs of high-risk groups, including sex workers, MSM, transgenders, IDUs and PLHIV Session Title: Expanding Covering and Quality: Approaches to Scaling-Up, Mini Room 3,  1:00-2:00pm 

Addressing the unmet sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of people living with HIV (PLHIV): The results from a baseline study in four states in India.                                                                                                                                Session Title: Expanding Covering and Quality: Approaches to Scaling-Up, Mini Room 3, 1:00-2:00pm 

Poster Exhibition                                                                                                        Wednesday, July 25, Exhibition Hall, Level 2

Beyond Heroin: Patterns of drug choice diversity among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in three Indian states: Findings from the Hridaya baseline study.

Identifying quality-of-life priorities for People Who Inject Drugs (PWID): Findings from the Hridaya baseline study in three Indian states.

                            

What’s harming harm reduction? Reducing HIV vulnerability among women who inject drugs in South Asia.    

 

Reaching people who use drugs (PWUD) in SRH/HIV integration: Recommendations from a global intervention review to identify strategies to increase the responsiveness    

Public private partnership as a sustainable model for STI service delivery: Evidence from Avahan-supported interventions in Andhra Pradesh, India                        

The roadmap contains a full list of posters being exhibited. You can also pick up material about our work at the Alliance exhibition booth #102. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org.

Getting High, Getting Laid: Harm Reduction Sessions by Alliance India, Tuesday, 24 July

We invite you today (Tuesday, July 24, Global Village Harm Reduction Zone, 4.30 – 6.00pm) for the panel discussion on Living Harm Reduction: Lessons Learned from three Continent at AIDS 2012.

Organised by IDPC and the Alliance, the panel will discuss the work of Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) and will include India HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Charanjit Sharma, Program Manager for Hridaya, the CAHR program in India. This session will give an overview of this unique and ambitious project being implemented in five countries (India, China, Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia) with presentations on the findings of the baseline research data on drug use patterns and services in these project areas, the policy and legislative barriers faced, project challenges and recent achievements.

CAHR aims to expand harm reduction services to more 160,000 drug users annually with prevention services that include counseling, needle syringe programme, condom provision and safe sex education. The main focus of CAHR is to provide HIV and harm reduction services to people who use drugs and their families in the five listed countries.  It involves people who use drugs (PWUD) in the design and delivery of services, and is developing advocacy plans to advance the human rights of PWUD.  There is a strong focus on building the local capacity of community based organisations and sharing knowledge about what works.

Today Alliance India’s work with PWUD (Hridaya) and MSM, Transgenders and hijras (Pehchan) are being dicussed at AIDS 2012. If you are at AIDS 2012, do pen down in your calendar to attend the oral poster session! Please click on the specific title to view or download the posters.

Sexual behaviour of men who have sex with men (MSM), transgenders and hijras with female partners: An analysis of data from the baseline survey of the Global Fund-supported Pehchan program in India                                                                             Oral Poster: Tuesday, July 24, Mini Room 10, 1:00-2:00pm

Getting High, Getting Laid: Injecting practices and sexual behavior of People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in three Indian states: Findings from the Hridaya baseline study Oral Poster: Tuesday, July 24, Mini Room 10, 1:00-2:00pm

Visit us at booth #102 to learn more about the Alliance’s work in India and around the world, pick up copies of our latest publications. You can also view our AIDS 2012 Roadmap for all India HIV/AIDS Alliance sessions at the International AIDS Conference. We look forward in connecting with you at AIDS 2012! If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org.

Alliance India Posters on Display at AIDS 2012

Thank you for the overwhelming response and support we got from each of you for the satellite session on Reaching Key Populations through SRH/HIV Integration: Opportunities for Impact at AIDS 2012, we will  be posting deliberations of the discussion that took place during the session soon.

If you’re in DC for the conference, please visit the exhibition hall to view India HIV/AIDS Alliance work (23– 26July 2012), as well as interact with the authors and technical experts from Alliance India. The posters on display today (23 July) are:

Non-Commercial Partner Relationships and HIV Risk among Female Sex Workers in Andhra Pradesh, India

Reaching the hard-to-reach: Community engagement and facilitation as a research strategy with men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender and hijra populations in the Global Fund-supported Pehchan program in India

Are low levels of education among MSM, transgenders and hijras a barrier to building strong community-based organisations (CBOs) to serve as HIV prevention partners? An analysis of data from the baseline survey of the Global Fund-supported Pehchan program in India

Community engagement in the development and roll-out of a capacity building model to strengthen community-based organisations (CBOs) for MSM, transgenders and hijras under the Global Fund-supported Pehchan programme in India

Addressing vulnerabilities of women who inject drugs: A community-based intervention model towards a holistic response to improve health and reduce HIV transmission among women who inject drugs in Manipur, India

Also we look forward to seeing you for today’s satellite session (23rd July 2012) on ‘Future of the HIV Response has Everything to Gain from Realizing Comprehensive SRHR for Everyone’ at Session Room 4 from 6:30-8:30pm, where India HIV/AIDS Alliance partner Daxa Patel, the Board Secretary, Gujarat State Network of PLHIV would be speaking.

We’ll update our blog everyday with details on activities that we are participating in, and will also upload documents so that you can view them online or download them. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org. You can also view our AIDS 2012 Roadmap for all India HIV/AIDS Alliance sessions at the International AIDS Conference. We look forward in connecting with you at AIDS 2012!

Alliance India Events at AIDS 2012 on Sunday, July 22

India HIV/AIDS Alliance invites you today (Sunday, July 22, Global Village Session Room 1, 3:45-5:45pm) for the satellite session on Reaching Key Populations through SRH/HIV Integration: Opportunities for Impact

This session is organised by India HIV/AIDS Alliance with support from European Commission and chaired by UNAIDS, it will present programming experiences highlighting the challenges and successful approaches used in integrated programmes specific to key populations such as MSM and Transgender people, Sex Workers, PLHIV and People Who Use Drugs. Panelists include the Alliance’s Sunita Grote, USAID’s Clancy Broxton, CAMNAFAW’s Nathalie Nkoume, and NEPHAK’s Rahab Mwaniki.

Take a sneak peak on our latest publications that are being showcased today at AIDS 2012 on HIV/SRHR Integration for Key Populations. Please click on the specific title to view or download the publication. Stay tuned for more updates!


New Publication (Policy Brief)
Key Linkages and Key Populations : Is HIV/SRHR Integration Serving the Needs of Vulnerable Communities?


New Publication (Desk Review)
HIV/SRHR Integration for Key Populations : A review of experiences and lessons learned in India and globally


New Publication (Issue Brief)
HIV/SRHR Integration for Sex Workers


New Publication (Issue Brief)
HIV/SRHR Integration for Men who have Sex with Men and Transgender People


New Publication (Issue Brief)
HIV/SRHR Integration for People Living with HIV


New Publication (Issue Brief)
HIV/SRHR Integration for People Who Use Drugs

We’ll update our blog everyday with details on activities that we are participating in, and will also upload documents so that you can view them online or download them. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org. You can also view our AIDS 2012 Roadmap for all India HIV/AIDS Alliance sessions at the International AIDS Conference. We look forward in connecting with you at AIDS 2012!

FROM STIGMA TO STRENGTH – Strategies for MSM, Transgender People and Allies in a Shifting AIDS Landscape

The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) is organizing today (21st July, 2012) the fifth MSM Pre-Conference event to the International AIDS Conference, to be held in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is: From Stigma to Strength: Strategies for MSM, Transgender People and Allies in a Shifting AIDS Landscape. Since its inception in 2006, the MSM Pre-Conference has grown to become the largest global gathering of activists, researchers, implementers and donors focused on the health and human rights of men who have sex with men.

The MSM Pre-Conference will provide a platform for up to 500 participants to exchange the most recent research, best practices, and advocacy strategies that advance the overall goal of universal access. The event will also include networking opportunities and skills building sessions focused on the changing research, programmatic, and policy landscapes in the AIDS sector.

Alliance India is speaking at various sessions and ensuring that the voices of millions are heard. For a more complete overview of sessions visit here.

James Robertson, Country Director, India HIV/AIDS Alliance is moderating a session today morning on Keeping the Pressure Up: A Dialogue with Donors on Increasing HIV Investments Targeted at Programs for MSM and Transgender People

This session on global financing is designed as a dialogue between donors and advocates on donor accountability and the lack of meaningful tracking of resources intended for MSM and transgender HIV programs. The panel will feature experts representing bilateral, multilateral, and private philanthropic agencies. Strategies for what advocates can do at the regional, national, and global levels to directly and meaningfully engage with donors will be discussed.

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Simran Shaikh, Programme Officer, Pehchan, India HIV/AIDS Alliance is a speaker for the session on Mounting an Advocacy Response Against Human Rights Violations and Abuses Faced by Transgender Communities Worldwide

This session will feature a panel of trans activists who will discuss various ways in which human rights abuses exacerbate HIV risk and negative health outcomes among transgender communities worldwide. Case study examples highlighting strategies for documenting and challenging these violations at the local, national, regional, and global levels will be discussed. The panelists will shed light on recent successes related to the removing of legal barriers among transgender people in Argentina, Australia, the United States, India, and Sweden.

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Jonathan Ripley, former Manager for Advocacy and Policy, Pehchan, India HIV/AIDS Alliance will moderate the session on Speaking Out Loud: Effective Strategies for Managing the Challenges Associated With MSM-Led Advocacy in Central America, North Africa, and Southeast Asia

This session will feature activists from North Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia sharing their real-life experiences implementing advocacy strategies utilizing a community-led advocacy toolkit for the health and human rights of MSM. Major objectives include sharing the key steps involved with developing and implementing locally specific adaptations of Speaking Out; discussion of the major challenges, successes, and lessons learned from the Speaking Out process; and implications for future regional advocacy activities and initiatives. This session goal is to explore the commonalities, differences, and synergies that occurred while building advocacy capacity for MSM across the 3 regions. Participants will gain an enhanced understanding of the different experiences, knowledge, and approaches used to implement advocacy trainings for HIV and MSM activists in diverse regions. It is expected that this discussion will encourage South-South exchange, maximizing tools and resources to develop and implement local and international advocacy strategies.

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Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director, International HIV/AIDS Alliance will speak on Challenges and Opportunities for Global Fund–Led HIV Programs Among MSM and Transgender People in Low – and Middle-Income Countries

This session is exclusively focused on Global Fund HIV programs among MSM and transgender people. This will give advocates the opportunity to learn more about recent changes within the Fund and the implications of these changes for key populations. Panelists for the session each represent the various core structures of the Fund (Board, Secretariat, Country Coordinating Mechanism, and Grant Recipient) and therefore will bring unique perspectives to the dialogue.

If you have any questions, please contact us at info@allianceindia.org. You can also view our AIDS 2012 Roadmap for all India HIV/AIDS Alliance sessions at the International AIDS Conference. We hope to see you at AIDS 2012!