Feature Articles

WHO's technical consultation on HIV/AIDS among MSM

Ref Number: ESEAOR200902

  • Date1 Feb 2009
  • Category FPA Message
  • TargetsN/A
  • AuthorFPAHK
  • Topic STIs & AIDS

Some 50 overseas government officials responsible for HIV/AIDS programmes on men who have sex with men (MSM) and experts and representatives from nongovernmental organisations (NGO) as well as 30 local observers attended the Technical Consultation on Health Sector Response to HIV/AIDS among MSM held in Hong Kong from 18-21 February 2009. Dr Susan Fan, Executive Director of FPAHK was invited to attend in her capacity as the Convenor of the Community Forum on AIDS.

The three-day technical consultation was jointly-organised by the Department of Health (DH), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the Joint United Nations Programmes on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, said in view of the global and domestic rising trend, HIV prevention among MSM was accorded high priority in five-year HIV/AIDS strategy for Hong Kong from 2007 to 2011. Dr Chow said HIV cases among MSM had been on a rapid rise in recent years. It constitutes the main route of transmission of some 30 per cent of 300 to 400 reported HIV cases each year. He noted that the Hong Kong Government had all along adopted a multi-pronged approach in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, including surveillance, prevention and health promotion, as well as treatment and care of people living with HIV.

To fully engage the community, the Government had also set up AIDS Trust Fund with HK$350 million dedicated to funding various public education projects, patient support services undertaken by NGO and the academia. Dr Susan Fan is a member of the AIDS Trust Fund’s Publicity and Public Education Sub-Committee.

Official representatives participating in the Consultation included Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Macao, Japan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam.

The 3-day meeting concluded with the following draft recommendations:

  • Strategic information on MSM and TG including epidemiological and biological/behavioural surveillance data should be collected through existing systems; together with social/anthropological, and operations research. Additional information is needed on HIV incidence among MSM and TG. There is a need to strengthen and harmonise data collection and analysis, to promote sharing of data across countries in the region and achieve comparability of data, and UN agencies and other partners could assist.
  • Strengthening the capacity of health providers to address all conditions related to male and TG sexual health, including same sex behaviour, is critical to scale up the provision of health services for the prevention and care of HIV among MSM and TG. The availability of centres of excellence which are better resourced could be an asset to provide guidance, supervision, and capacity building. Promoting cost effective MSM interventions tools kits that are currently being developed should be supported. Evaluation and refinement of a Asia Pacific comprehensive package aiming at a "continuum of prevention, care, support and treatment for HIV among MSM and TG" should be accelerated through research. In high HIV incidence settings, additional urgent prevention measures are needed and a "highly active intervention package (HAI)" should be developed in order to break the chain of transmission.
  • Opportunities to promote enabling environments need to identified, building upon the outcomes of this Hong Kong consultation. It was recommended that sub-regional and national consultations be held to define and promote an enabling policy environment, including addressing issues relating to legal, cultural and regulatory frameworks which will facilitate effective heath sector services and rights based programming.