Key populations’ communities participate in the development of the HIV guidelines

Feature story

14 March 2014 - WHO has convened the concluding meeting of the Guidelines’ Development Group on key populations and HIV. The final guidelines are planned for release at the AIDS2014 international conference this July. It is essential for WHO to ensure that the guidelines reflect the needs of the key population groups so that national programmes can ensure the services for these groups are well delivered and impactful. We spoke with some of the representatives of the community organizations at the meeting.

What’s your opinion about these upcoming guidelines?

"I think it is important that we focus on key populations: people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people and people in prison, and that we recognise them and their needs. There’s overlap between people who need these guidelines and the people who need access and support."

Representative from the International Network of People who Use Drugs

What do you think your community expects from these guidelines?

“One thing that I know for sure is that the community is expecting to be acknowledged by WHO that we are most likely the front- liners in service provision and in accessing the services. So, most of the time at the country level the doctors and the governments are the ones who are being acknowledged by WHO. That becomes a real challenge for us to actually push the policy change in our countries. Even if we are recognised, we are recognised as criminals, or, like we are a burden to the countries. I think this is an opportunity for us. It still needs a lot of improvement but this is an opportunity for us to be recognised and to voice our needs. And I hope from these guidelines, at the country level, they will start to recognise us and truly partner in implementing the partnership between stakeholders and community of key affected populations.”

Sam Nugraha, Asian Network of People who Use Drugs, Bangkok, Thailand

How important do you think these upcoming guidelines will be for your community?

I believe the guidelines would really help a lot especially the transgender community in the Philippines and also in the Asia Pacific as a whole. We all know that we lack information and documentation regarding transgender health and transgender HIV. Being involved here gives us a chance to tell the whole world, and people who are involved in creating these guidelines the needs the things we need in order to address HIV in the transgender community.

Kate Montecarlo Cordova, Association of Transgender People in the Philippines, Manila, the Philippines