Websites, social media and mobile apps are just some of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) which are changing the way we connect with each other.
Connecting Asia is a regional consultation to help Asia reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by using ICT to improve the uptake of innovative approaches to HIV programmes for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).
The consultation is hosted by APCOM with support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) LINKAGES Project (managed by FHI360) and from UNAIDS.
Connecting Asia will take place in Bangkok from 14 –16 June 2017 at the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G and will team up HIV workers from across Asia with leading experts from the ICT and HIV sectors. See below for more information about this groundbreaking event.
- What is ICT?
- HIV Programming in the ICT Age
- Social Media Campaign
In Asia and the Pacific, HIV disproportionately affects men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM HIV infection rates are above 6% in Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, reaching 13.7% in Mongolia. Several cities in the region, including Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur top 15%. In Bangkok, almost one in four MSM is HIV-positive. The incidence of HIV among young MSM (under the age of 24) stands at 7.5% in Bangkok and is possibly higher in other major cities where infection rates are not as well documented.
For the AIDS epidemic to be brought under control by 2020 UNAIDS estimates that 90% of people living with HIV should know their HIV status, 90% of people with knowledge of their status should be on treatment, and 90% of those on treatment should have suppressed viral loads. UNAIDS sees innovations in service delivery and focused testing as key to reaching these 90-90-90 targets.
ICT stands for ‘information and communication technologies’ and refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums. Commonly used applications include websites, mobile apps, social media, email, messaging, and audio/video streaming
In recent years, HIV programs have seen diminishing returns in lowering infection rates, especially among younger and more tech-savvy MSM who are typically less receptive to conventional sources of information. The innovative use of ICT can help close gaps in the continuum of HIV prevention, care and treatment.
ICT also holds great promise in advancing advocacy and programming at relatively low cost. A number of internet companies, especially mobile dating applications, already support health initiatives and HIV care. Increasingly, they have the capacity to target users at higher risk of infection and refer them to HIV service providers. Private sector initiatives like these need technical support and forums where best practices can be shared. State-run HIV programs meanwhile need forums that foster closer collaboration with the private sector, and guidance around ICT policies that can aid in the testing and treatment of MSM with HIV.
APCOM in partnership with PEPFAR under the USAID LINKAGES Project (implemented by FHI 360) and UNAIDS is hosting a regional consultation on effective and innovative community-led ICT strategies that can help countries in the region reach the UNAIDS targets.
Over the course of 2.5 days the consultation will discuss the use of ICT by various regional entities working on the 90-90-90 targets. The consultation is expected to facilitate investments in initiatives led and owned by community-based organizations. The focus will be on innovative technologies that have shown tangible results.
The specific objectives of the consultation are as follows:
- Explore how ICT can be used to further reach MSM communities;
- Identify best-in-class ICT tools that are being used regionally and globally in HIV prevention, testing and treatment; and
- Map the ICT interventions that can be designed and deployed in the short and medium term to meet UNAIDS targets by 2020.
The specific outcomes of the consultation are as follows:
- A consultation report detailing case studies and best practices in the use of ICT toward meeting UNAIDS targets;
- An ICT action plan for national policies and programs, developed by country partners;
- A roadmap for ICT capacity building based on needs identified during the consultation.
- At least three regional and/or country-specific concepts for ICT-enabled HIV programming, selected by the steering panel for PEPFAR/USAID seed funding totaling USD 80,000.
You can download the event agenda here.
PLEASE NOTE: Details of presenters and panelists are still being finalized and will be available in the lead up to the event.
Tweet, share, post, regram your participation before, during and after the event with #APCOMConnectingAsia hashtag