MAKATI CITY, 1 NOVEMBER 2023 -
The original article published by UNDP Philippines, here.
Around 50 HIV/AIDS advocates came together to advocate for the advancement of the rights and access to services for key populations through a national dialogue on “Enabling Access: Entry points and Opportunities for strengthening access to services for and with the key populations”. The National Dialogue on "Enabling Access" is an integral part of the SCALE Initiative: Removing Barriers to HIV Services. The Philippines is among the countries participating in this initiative under the Asia and Pacific region. The UNDP-led SCALE initiative seeks to improve access to and uptake of HIV services by supporting the leadership of people living with HIV and other key populations to address the structural barriers to improve HIV prevention and treatment outcomes. The SCALE initiative is anchored in a shared commitment to achieving the 10-10-10 targets for and with key populations in PEPFAR countries by 2025.
In his opening message, UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran recognized the broad steps being taken to advance the HIV/AIDS dialogue in the country. “We have come together from diverse backgrounds, but we are united by a common purpose – to address the improve the HIV/AIDS response and to empower key populations. This dialogue is not just a gathering; it is a testament to the strength of our collaboration,” he said.
The SCALE Initiative is a comprehensive two-year effort aimed at addressing HIV-related criminalization. By supporting key populations to lead in addressing these issues, the initiative seeks to create an environment where barriers are dismantled, and individuals have equal access to essential services.
In a recorded message, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa emphasized the significance of the coordination of public and private sectors. “Today, as we engage in the discussions, share knowledge, and chart a roadmap for the future, let us commit ourselves to principles of multi-sectoral collaboration. Let us leave no one behind, work together to eliminate HIV-related disparities, and strive for a world where HIV is no longer a threat to our well-being,” he expressed.
UNAIDS Philippines Country Director Dr. Louie Ocampo is hopeful that the battle against HIV/AIDS will be further strengthened through the national dialogues. “Strengthening access to HIV services for and with key populations requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses not only healthcare but also societal and legal barriers. There is a path to end the HIV epidemic that will ensure we are prepared to address our collective challenges and advance toward achieving the SDGs,” he proclaimed.
During the event, the participants signified their commitment to boost the HIV/AIDS response in the country and support the implementation of the AIDS Medium Term Plan 2023-2028. The success of the national dialogue on "Enabling Access" underscored the Philippines' commitment to fostering an inclusive and just society. The recommendations and outcomes from the dialogue are foreseen to contribute to the broader efforts in achieving the 10-10-10 targets and securing accessible and responsive services and interventions for key populations.