Regional Conference on Community Access to Treatment, Care and Support Services  

The ‘Regional Conference on Community Access to Treatment, Care, and Support Services’ for the Asia-Pacific region held on 27-28 June 2014 in Bangkok Thailand, aimed at renewed momentum in advocacy in improved access to treatment, care and support, continued advocacy in use of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), flexibility for production of generic medications and improved access to Hepatic C virus infection.

Aimed at providing a platform to share the data and results of the baseline CAT-S with APN+’s program partners and key stakeholders from the program countries.

The Conference covered 3 main thematic areas as outlined below.

  1. Presentation by the seven countries, namely, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lao, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam and sharing the findings of phase I baseline for Community Access to Treatment Survey (CAT-S). CAT-S is a PLHIV focused study participated by over 7,000 PLHIV, on the factors that affect access to treatment, care and support, directly from the perspective of the patients.Each presentation was followed by a brief Q& A session and presentation of consolidated results of the seven countries’ study. This provided the inputs for more structured discussions and group work. Participants were divided into 7 groups led/moderated by representatives from the seven countries that defined the group’s’ perspectives on issues pertaining to treatment and access in their respective countries. Issues raised in the seven groups may or may not be similar to the issues of the research findings of the seven countries that were presented. Of the issues identified each group prioritized five issues for further discussion on Day 2 of the plenary session.
  2. The session on Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH) raised and discussed issues related to poor access to quality SHRH services to build advocacy momentum for the regionThis session comprised of two parts: a) Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), TRIPS flexibility and access to treatment on why Health advocacy groups, like PLHIV networks, need continued advocacy for the use of TRIPS flexibilities provided by the World Trade Organisation;
  3. Diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C virus (HCV), known to be much more prevalent in the PLHIV community than the general population. Yet there is very little knowledge in either the PLHIV community, or the health workers who provide their care. The session highlighted the importance to convince countries to initiate and sustain treatment against HCV infection

Day 2 of the forum focused on identifying key responses to the issues identified in Day1; as a group the actions that will be taken centering around the five issues, the advocacy agenda based on further discussion on the five key priority issues identified on day one, follow-up action and presentation of the same, by the seven groups and way forward and ended with a summary of the two days contributions, the next steps and wrap-up of the forum.

The conference was attended by more than 90 participants from the Asia-Pacific region that included representatives of APN+ national network members, government representatives and key stakeholders from MATA implementing countries, regional stakeholders and representatives from UN Agencies The meeting was hosted by APN+ and was supported by the Global Fund round 10 grant for APN+, AUSAID, UNAIDS RST and GNP+

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