Friday 6 December 2013

AFAO's ICAAP11 highlights

One of many discussions at the AFAO booth.
More pix at
AFAO representatives from our International Program and Sydney office joined the recent International Congress on AIDS in the Asia Pacific (ICAAP11) in Bangkok.

AFAO worked with our key partners Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) and Asia Pacific Network of AIDS Service Organisations (APCASO) to jointly present a number of sessions, and also supported the participation of our partner in Papua New Guinea, Kapul Champions.

In preparation for the congress, AFAO in collaboration with APCOM prepared a special edition of HIV Australia magazine focusing on MSM and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific. This edition aimed to contribute to discussions at the congress on the escalating HIV epidemics among MSM and transgender communities, and was distributed to every ICAAP11 delegate in their conference pack.

Yogie Wirastra  (APCOM) and
Michael Frommer (AFAO)
check out the HIV Australia
special edition.
APCOM's pre-conference forum for MSM and transgender people, FOREPLAY, was an opportunity for regional partners to learn from each other about key issues across the Asia-Pacific. Don Baxter (AFAO International Program Advisor) gave an update at FOREPLAY on the Global Fund's new funding model. He explained that there are significant opportunities in the year ahead for gay men and other MSM to receive increased funding for HIV prevention.

The Community Forum before the ICAAP11 provides space for community delegates to discuss some of the key issues from a community perspective. Discussions were framed around zero legal reform, zero political will, and zero funding.

During the key affected populations break out sessions, AFAO Executive Director Rob Lake presented the findings of AFAO-sponsored research into barriers to testing for Australian gay men (Red Rollers research) at the MSM session. The presentation contributed to discussions on the roll-out of community based testing services in Asia and Pacific. The presentation was well received as it presented more client-focused information than is usually available in Asia and Pacific contexts.

Highlights of AFAO activities at ICAAP11 included:
  • An MSM Advocacy Skills Building Workshop in collaboration with APCOM, which was a lively session, with opportunities to learn from and exchange experiences from AFAO and across the region. AFAO Policy Analyst Michael Frommer gave insights into policy analysis and the development of policy briefs; Communications Officer Finn O'Keefe facilitated an interactive session on traditional and new media; and Rob Lake discussed effective strategies for lobbying and advocacy with government and other stakeholders.
  • Chris Connelly shows how it's done
    in the River Rescue roleplay, while
    Cai Lingping facilitates
    A satellite session on City Based Responses for MSM and transgender people highlighted the need for more focused and targeted responses, and showcased various city-based surveys and projects around the region. The session was chaired by Midnight Poonkasetwatana (Executive Director, APCOM) and Chris Connelly (International Program Manager, AFAO).
  • In collaboration with APCASO a skills building workshop on community understanding of the Investment Framework using a River Rescue role play was facilitated by Cai Lingping from CHAIN, China, RD Marte from APCASO, and Chris Connelly). The role play facilitated further discussion on relevance of Investment Framework for funding decisions for HIV at the national level.
Several AFAO partners presented at the conference, including oral presentations from:
  • Moi Lee Liow (Executive Director, APCASO) on regional funding priorities and observations from the Community Advocacy Initiative project on Investment Framework within a satellite session titled 'AIDS Funding Landscape in Asia'
  • Nick Morea-Evera, Senior Program Officer at Kapul Champions, with an oral presentation titled 'Building MSM and TG Advocacy Capacity Targeting Repressive Laws in PNG' and a networking zone presentation on experiences of MSM and transgender people in PNG (in the LGBT Networking Zone forum on MSM)
  • Midnight Poonkasetwattana (Executive Director, APCOM) presented on several occasions including within the 'Lancet 2013 MSM and HIV series regional launch', at a satellite session 'Getting To Zero' in Asia and the Pacific: Challenges and Approaches to a Scaled Up Response to HIV among Key Affected Populations', and during the FOREPLAY MSM Pre-Conference.
AFAO also shared two e-Posters at the congress, one titled 'Australia, Migration and HIV: An Evolving Policy Landscape' and the other titled 'Can an international policy instrument be a tool to strengthen a National HIV Strategy'.

Kapul Champions presented an e-poster from Sao Verave (Kapul Champions Board member) titled 'Challenges in Championing the First Ever MSM and TG Network In Papua New Guinea'. The e-posters are available at:

AFAO's community booth showcased campaigns and resources from Australia, alongside materials from the region from our partners APCASO, APCOM and Kapul Champions.

Throughout the conference, our Facebook updates and blog posts highlighted some of the ICAAP11 discussions and key activities by AFAO and our partners. You can also check out our photo album on SmugMug.

Thanks to our partners and staff whose commitment and hard work made such extensive engagement possible.

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