Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme

 Photo: Ian Mungall/UNDP

What is this programme about

The Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme (Phase 2) is a regional HIV Programme operating in seven countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The overall goal of the Programme is to reduce the impact of, and vulnerability to, HIV of men who have sex with men (MSM), hijras and transgender people through Community Systems Strengthening (CSS). In Afghanistan, the programme focuses on HIV prevention services for men with high risk behaviour. The United Nations Development Programme Bangkok Regional Hub (UNDP BRH) serves the role of Principal Recipient.

The Programme supports building the capacity of in-country and regional community-based Sub-recipient organizations engaged in service provision (HIV prevention, care and support services), policy development and advocacy, partnership building with local governments and health departments, research related to MSM and transgender issues, and on creating stronger community systems to support and sustain this work. In order for the interventions carried out by the community-based organizations (CBOs) to be both effective and sustainable, it is necessary to build their capacity, create stronger linkages and networks between community organizations, community-led interventions and government, and provide longer-term support to these groups.

Recognizing that different levels and types of support are required in each country, the Principal Recipient, and two regional community networks included in this Programme, the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health and Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, cooperate to support high-level regional and national-level policy development and advocacy, technical support and research activities. Sub-Recipients are implementing programme activities at the national and sub-national level.

The below videos illustrate how sub-recipient Naz Male Health Alliance is addressing the needs of key populations of MSM and transgender people in Pakistan.

What we have accomplished so far (2011-2016)

In Phase 2, the Programme has contributed to strengthening organizational and technical capacity of community-based organizations in seven countries and regionally, and expanding coverage of HIV prevention and testing services. It has also resulted in reviews and reforms of legal and policy barriers hindering access to services for MSM and transgender people. Examples of achievements include:

  • Five countries in South Asia hosted national HIV and the law dialogues and Pakistan produced its first national Scan of Law and Policies impacting the HIV epidemic. This process led to Sindh Province in Pakistan passing South Asia’s first protective AIDS law. As a result of the national dialogues, all countries were able to engage with communities and other national stakeholders to document key opportunities to promote inclusion and to report progress towards national commitments at the 2015 Asia Pacific Intergovernmental Meeting on HIV.
  • In February 2015, five National Human Rights Institutions from South Asia joined an additional 13 from the Asia-Pacific region to develop a common action plan to promote and protect human rights in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity
  • In Bangladesh, Hijra/transgender people have been recognized as ‘Third gender’ by the government, influenced by rigorous and continued advocacy and consultation by concerned stakeholders including sub-recipient Bandhu Social Welfare Society and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and informed by evidence developed by the Programme. In Nepal, work with the NHRC and national stakeholders by sub-recipient Blue Diamond Society helped provide the community with evidence and political advocacy for the country to recognize a ‘Third gender’ category and to introduce "others" in the citizenship and immigration card in 2013. Further, sexual orientation and gender identity issues were included in school level curricula and the National Human Rights Commission institutionalised a position of Human Rights Officer dealing with MSM/transgender complaints.
  • Trainings of health care providers using the "The Time Has Come” - Enhancing HIV, STI and other sexual health services for MSM and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific: Training package for health providers to reduce stigma in health care settings have been conducted in all Programme countries. Efforts are being made to integrate the training package into national curricula in each programme country.
  • Service provision in Afghanistan and Pakistan has reached over 40,000 people and almost 10,000 were tested for HIV and knew their results in 2014. The service delivery programme is the only such one in Afghanistan providing HIV testing and STI diagnosis and treatment services for men with high risk behaviour. 
  • Six national Monitoring and Evaluation System Strengthening workshops were convened to review the inclusion of MSM and transgender people in national reporting. As a result, national AIDS programmes are conducting Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBS)/size estimation exercises in three countries with support from Joint UN Teams on AIDS, which for the first time include MSM and transgender people as key populations.
  • MSM and transgender groups were included in the IBBS and National HIV Strategic Plan in Pakistan, thanks to advocacy efforts of sub-recipient, Naz Male Health Alliance (NMHA). NMHA has also been included in the Punjab AIDS Strategy 2012-2018 as the Government’s key partner in HIV prevention and support services for MSM and transgender people. 
  • In Bhutan, an IBBS formative assessment was undertaken which will lay the foundation for inclusion of MSM and transgender people in subsequent national IBBS. Additionally, Bhutan conducted the first MSM and transgender mapping study, and a formal assessment of stigma among health care providers.
  • Exposure visits for community-based organizations from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan with their peers have increased knowledge sharing on organizational governance and advocacy strategies. After a visit to Nepal, MSM and transgender people have formed the first Bhutanese MSM and transgender community group.
  • Over 60 community based organizations are directly benefiting through community systems strengthenging and advocacy capacity building efforts.


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