Analysis tool for HIV programming

DLP Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher has written an analysis tool for the Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM). The tool outlines a set of assumptions, facts and risks that affect HIV programming for men who have sex with men and transgender people.

The hope is that this new tool will help realise the goal expressed this week in the official slogan for UN World Aids Day 2015 - 'On the fast track to end AIDS'. In Asia and the Pacific, as elsewhere in the world, the HIV epidemic continues to take its heaviest toll among communities and groups that are marginalised and discriminated against.

The tool offers a set of nine 'risk avoidance' activities to help organisations make their programmes relevant and effective, helping their staff and partners to take a critical 'look inwards' and 'look outwards'. Each activity asks what they know now, and what limitations might hamper their organisation's effective and relevant HIV programming for MSM and transgender people, and other marginalised communities.

It helps them to ask the following questions.

  • Do they make unfounded assumptions about the risks faced by all those who fall under the umbrella term of MSM and transgender people, without knowing about the realities of people's lives? Does this lead to programmes that change little, because of the gap between what is known and what is actually done?
  • Do they develop 'one-size-fits all' programming based on the false vision of homogenised communities that tends to be created by epidemiological surveys? Does this lead to activities unsupported by a clear programme logic?
  • Do they or partner organisations inadvertently adopt 'power over' community members, rather than exercising 'power with' them? Does this reinforce the socio-cultural and power inequalities that have contributed to HIV risk for many MSM and transgender people?
  • Do they miss opportunities because existence of repressive laws is taken as proof that there is no space for HIV programming directed towards MSM and transgender people?
  • Do their national level 'partnerships' effectively mask a lack of appropriate investment in, and prioritisation of, MSM and transgender people in terms of the HIV response?

Gillian's tool has been commissioned by APCOM to address what it believes are serious shortcomings in current HIV programming. It hopes to persuade all organisations involved in HIV programming for MSM and transgender people to use it, at levels from the global to the local.

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