Community Voices: "By taking every opportunity that we had to explain our activities, people started to understand."
In cities in Kachin State, HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs (PWID) is nearly 50%. To reduce transmission of HIV and other viruses through the sharing of contaminated needles and syringes, Metta Development Foundation (Metta) is working to increase access to harm reduction services such as the Needle Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) at drop-in center locations. Harm reduction "is an evidence-based approach to HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who inject drug[s]," and is part of a wider strategy to address the high HIV prevalence among PWID in Kachin State. These services are supported by the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) Project, funded by USAID under PEPFAR through UNAIDS Myanmar with project implementation support and management to partner organizations. provided by Community Partners International (CPI).
Yone Lay is a transgender woman and peer educator who provides health education and referrals at a drop-in center in Yangon, Myanmar. She works with Population Services International (PSI)’s Targeted Outreach Program (TOP) that aims to meet the needs of key populations that are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, including men who have sex with men, transgender people and female sex workers. PSI is a project partner of the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) project managed by UNAIDS through Community Partners International (CPI). Here Yone Lay discusses her responsibilities as a peer educator, her hopes for the transgender community in Myanmar, and the changes she would like to help realize in the future.
As part of the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) project managed by UNAIDS through Community Partners International (CPI), project partner Metta Development Foundation (Metta) helps establish and support Local AIDS Committees (LACs) for HIV/AIDS prevention in communities in Kachin State and Shan State, Myanmar. We recently sat down with Daw Saw Yu Htwe, an LAC member at Metta’s project site in Nant Mon, Kachin State, to discuss how her perception of people who inject drugs (PWID) has changed through her involvement with the committee, and the importance of increasing access to harm reduction services within her community.
At first glance, Daw Ja Ring’s hands are unremarkable. Yet these hands have ushered into the world hundreds of the babies born in Shwe Gyin village, Kachin State, in the last twenty-five years. Daw Ja Ring is Shwe Gyin village’s trained birth attendant, a role she undertook when she was just 18 years old. Now, at 43, she has lost count of the exact number of births she has attended but estimates that it must be at least 300.
Naw Phaw Pa Klay is a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Worker with Community Partners International (CPI) partner the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) at Kawet Nwe village in Kayin State, southeast Myanmar. This is one of the locations that CPI’s clinic supports with training, outreach and referral services focused on gender-based violence.