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.
As part of the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) project managed by UNAIDS through Community Partners International (CPI), project partner Metta Development Foundation (Metta) operates drop-in centers in Kachin and Shan States to support people who inject drugs (PWID) and people living with HIV (PLHIV). Alongside HIV testing and counseling (HTC), Metta utilizes a harm reduction approach at its centers, focused on minimizing the risks and harm associated with drug use. Harm reduction services include the Needle and Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) for people who inject drugs (PWIDs). The centers also offer clients opportunities to participate in additional activities such as art therapy.
During a recent art therapy session at a Metta drop-in center in Kachin State, CPI spoke with clients about their paintings and their lives. These are the human stories of hardship and hope within the drug and HIV epidemics in Kachin State.
Following the ‘Social Media for HIV Awareness’ panel discussion, the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) Project held a social media training workshop to equip UHF partners and civil society organizations with the tools necessary to implement HIV-awareness campaigns. The workshop, attended by 38 participants from 15 organizations, was organized by Community Partners International (CPI) and led by Tham Tran, Senior Marketing and Communication Manager at PATH-USAID/Healthy Markets in Vietnam, and Thant Sin, Tech 4 Peace Lead at Phandeeyar.
Left to right: Dr. Hein Ko Ko, Deputy Director (Technical Unit of TOP), Population Services International; Saijai Liangpunsakul, ICT & Innovation Advisor (UHF Project), Community Partners International; Tham Tran, Senior Marketing and Communication Manager, PATH-USAID/Healthy Markets; and James Repdos, Digital Director, Havas Riverorchid Myanmar. Photo: Community Partners International
Social media has been under the microscope recently for all the wrong reasons. However, it can have positive applications, and significant impacts, as a tool for public health awareness. On May 28, 2018, the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) Project hosted a panel discussion in Yangon entitled, ‘Social Media for HIV Awareness’ to explore a key question: How can digital and social media be used to reach and engage key populations for HIV prevention, testing and treatment services?
How can visualization and mapping tools be used to make better decisions regarding HIV/AIDS testing services for key populations in remote, conflict areas? And in what ways might a systems-centric approach provide a better contextual understanding of issues in Myanmar? On April 26 to 27, 2018, the USAID HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) Project held a two-day “Systems Thinking & Data Visualization for HIV/AIDS” workshop to equip implementing partners with the tools necessary to visualize and contextualize the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kachin State.