In Asia and the Pacific region, the voice of young MSM and young transgender persons, whose identity is still being criminalized in many countries, is still being underrepresented, in the HIV response, despite having one of the highest prevalence. Youth Voices Count (YVC) was established 4 years ago to being together the most prominent youth activists in the MSM and transgender communities in the region to increase their participation at all the decision making processes and their uptakes in prevention and treatment services. To this day, YVC is the only regional network wholly and fully dedicated to the rights and needs of these populations in Asia and the Pacific. YVC has recently published their Advocacy Agenda for a more strategic direction in the upcoming years.
The Advocacy Agenda is the result of consultations with YVC’s members on their top priorities and approaches at the community, national, and regional levels; and with the advisors and external stakeholders to give some insight into YVC’s strategic direction from the outlook. The Advocacy Agenda also reviews some key issues facing young MSM and young transgender persons in the region through literature review. Perspective of YVC Secretariat was also reflected in the document.
The Advocacy Agenda maps out YVC’s action, commitment, and transparent approaches to the three priorities identified, including: addressing self-stigma and its linkages to HIV through pushing for enhanced programmatic responses, increasing uptake of HIV prevention and treatment programs, and countering the broader social stigma and discrimination that impact young MSM’s and young transgender persons’ health outcomes.
Besides giving YVC a better focus in advocacy, this key document will also play an important role in presenting YVC to other partners for more collaboration in common areas and priorities, as well as to the young MSM and young transgender leaders in the region who would like to step up and take charge of the HIV response alongside with YVC.