Stakeholder communiqué Thursday, 24 May 2018

Regional dialogue to build support for domestic HIV financing

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has recently been selected to lead a regional dialogue that will guide the development of strategic priorities for HIV key populations across eight countries in Asia.

The dialogue will inform a three-year Global Fund grant, which will strive to improve the capacity of community-based organisations to advocate for sustainable domestic financing of HIV prevention, testing and treatment in Bhutan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste. In order to do this effectively AFAO will continue to collaborate closely with the regional key population networks and will be seeking their support and input into the process of in-country and regional consultations.

AFAO chief executive officer, Darryl O’Donnell, said the sustainability of domestic financing of HIV programs in meeting 90-90-90 targets remains a key challenge for the region.

“Across our region, the HIV response is delicately poised,” Mr O’Donnell said. “New HIV infections are falling, but not fast enough. And while AIDS-related deaths are also declining, barriers such as stigma and criminalisation of certain communities still remain that prevent people accessing the prevention, treatment and care services they need.

“To continue making strides forward we need new resolve. We need the region’s governments to sustain and increase their political and financial commitment, especially as they become more prosperous.

“The most effective and efficient way of preventing new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths is to empower the people most affected by HIV. Men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, the transgender community, sex workers and of course, people living with HIV, know how to communicate with their peers, but they need the tools and knowledge to communicate with government and the broader public.”

Joe Wong, Regional Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network APTN and member of Reference Group for regional key population networks, said: “The collaboration with the key population networks is critical on the topic of sustainable HIV financing. The Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) and the consortium of regional key population networks is dedicated to empowering communities and fostering experience exchange among countries to identify strategic pressure points that will shift the momentum of the HIV response towards progressive political and financial commitment that includes and protects the transgender community and other key populations. A community led process is the key to success.”

Darryl O’Donnell concurred: “We see this regional dialogue as the first step to supporting persuasive and powerful advocacy by key populations across the region. AFAO has a lengthy track record of effective collaborations with community-based organisations in the region and we aim to ensure the continued meaningful engagement of key stakeholders in critical strategic decision-making to prioritize resources and activities and resolve bottlenecks to implementation. We look forward to continuing those relationships with this process.”

For media comment: please call Nick Lucchinelli 0422229032


The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) is the national federation for the HIV community response in Australia. AFAO works to end HIV transmission and reduce its impact on communities in Australia, Asia and the Pacific. AFAO’s members are the AIDS Councils in each state and territory; the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA); the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL); the Anwernekenhe National HIV Alliance (ANA); and Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association. AFAO’s affiliate member organisations – spanning community, research and clinical workforce – share AFAO’s values and support the work we do.