The year 2015 was a challenging year for APCOM due to the economic downturn in global economies with numerous budget cuts in HIV-related funding. Many countries used external funding to support critical HIV prevention and community mobilisation, in particular for key populations. In most cases, national budgets do not have provisions to continue key population-oriented responses. As a result, many projects and programmes had or will come to an end. In APCOM’s case, the long partnerships with Hivos, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through AFAO (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations), which have been fundamental in supporting APCOM’s country-level capacity strengthening programme, has not been extended.
Despite the funding challenges in the region we are continuing and expanding our work in the fight against HIV and in strengthening the rights of our communities. We have accomplished exciting new partnerships that enable us to lead innovative programmes and activities throughout the region.
APCOM’s key achievements in 2015 include:
+ Expanding HIV Testing Campaigns
Greater numbers of MSM are being engaged, getting tested regularly and being referred to the HIV care continuum.
+ Continuing Advocacy Strengthening
Fifteen partners working at regional/sub-regional and/or country/city levels were assisted in assessing and strengthening their advocacy work.
+ Sharing and Generating Information and Demand on PrEP
The first ever regional community-led consultation on PrEP was conducted by APCOM. World leading experts, policy makers and community advocates gathered to discuss and prepare the roll out of PrEP at country levels.
+ Building Leadership
A mentorship programme to assist young community leaders from across the region to strengthen skills and knowledge while leading their own advocacy projects was launched.
+ Continuing Support for Trans Communities
More small pilot community-led HIV projects to look specifically and address the situation, challenges and issues for transgender people in HIV, health, and human rights were stimulated in a few cities in the region.
+ Conducting Community Strengthening Systems
With the support of UNDP through the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme, hundreds of community advocates from South Asia were trained with skills, ranging from resource mobilisation to monitoring and evaluation.
+ Amplifying Community Voices
Through innovative communication platforms such as website articles, YouTube videos and Facebook content, we’ve profiled community advocates and groups throughout the region, from Afghanistan to Samoa.