Youth Advocacy Council Pakistan arranged Three Days Training on Combating HIV/AIDS and Transphobia
August 24, 2020: HIV is a serious health problem for populations worldwide. It presents significant challenges for public health authorities and national governments. Though, it is pervasive in our societies regardless of any social class; the transgender persons, however, are highly vulnerable to this plague. As per WHO. transgender women are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than all adults of reproductive age. Globally, an estimated 19% of transgender women are living with HIV.
In health-care settings, transgender people often face stigma and ill treatment, including refusal of care, harassment, verbal abuse and violence. Despite evidence of heightened HIV vulnerabilities and risks, the coverage of HIV prevention programmes among transgender people remains poor. Transgender women are in urgent need of HIV prevention, treatment and care services. At the same time, stigma and discrimination in health system alongside lack of knowledge of transgender people’s health-related needs by health personnel deter transgender people from using services. Generally, transgender women had negative or transphobic experiences in health-care system in past, they were reluctant to get tested for fear that a diagnosis would require additional interaction with health-care providers. Transgender women and men are drastically underserved by current treatment efforts and report lower rates of treatment adherence than other groups. Youth Advocacy Council (YAC), a Pakistan based NGO, is striving to strengthen health-care programs in providing care, support and advocacy directives for transgender population by addressing some key vulnerabilities, and strengthen linkages with health service providers to better serve and protect trans community and help them to live a better life. In this regard, a three days Training of Trainers was conducted at Swat with diverse youth, transgenders and young professionals hailing from Lahore, Peshawar and Swat on Ending Transphobic Stigmas and Preventing Trans and Youth from HIV/AIDS endemic in Pakistan. The training provided first hand information and knowledge on HIV/AIDS to young community and transgender persons; offering quality counselling services in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support; enable participants to provide HCT using different approaches including VCT and routine testing and refer clients for HIV/AIDS related prevention, care and support services in Pakistan and particularly in three districts. A key session led by Reem Sharif, Pakistan’s first Transwoman Police officer, gave valuable information on transphobia, how to reduce transphobic stigmas, and address transgender’s human rights in Pakistan.
The participants were also briefed about Transhelp app; an innovative digital platform designed to help and support Transgenders and youth to prevent HIV/Aids, Sexually transmitted diseases and empower TGPs, PLWHA and Youth to fight against Transphobia and gender discrimination.
Talking on the event, the transgender participants from Lahore, Peshawar and Swat appreciated the YAC team for organizing the training. “It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world and Transgender is no exception.
Youth Advocacy Council Pakistan’s efforts for Trans-Rights in Pakistan are appreciable. The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in this regard is a progressive approach. One such initiative is new app “TRANSHELP” that ensures the safety and security of our beloved and most vulnerable Trans community. We support hands and spirits to make it a success!” said Aasiya Akbar, an Advocate High Court Lahore and Transhelp Ambassador of YAC Pakistan. The YAC Pakistan also established Peer groups and TransHelp ambassadors across Pakistan to support TGPs in these areas. At the end of the training, certificates were distributed among the trainees by CEO YAC Pakistan Mr. Mohsin Khan, President YAC Pakistan Awais Abid.