A paper produced by the ACON-supported Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN) has called on Australian and Pacific governments to further engage men who have sex with men and transgender communities in their responses to HIV.

Formed in 2007, the PSDN brings together representatives from the Pacific region and ACON to discuss ways to support the area’s gender diverse communities. Their new report, HIV/AIDS, men who have sex with men and transgender people in the Pacific: recommendations for an improved response, calls for greater recognition of GLBT communities in government HIV strategies.

Australia is a major donor of HIV funding in the Pacific so the Australian government can have some influence. Our international HIV strategy acknowledges that MSM issues are a priority, but now it’s important that there be meaningful realisation of this commitment, ACON’s International Projects Officer and participant in PDSN meetings, Stephen Scott told Sydney Star Observer.

The report was produced through a two-day workshop process during which key issues arose that relate to the lack of representation and visibility of MSM and transgenders in the response to HIV in the Pacific.

There is a severe lack of resources for MSM and transgender communities but if they can be effectively supported to participate meaningfully in the response to HIV, other more long-term issues like relations with police and churches and issues of discrimination and law reform may progress more easily.

info: The report is available at acon.org.au.

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