In order to address the rise in HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia, a collaborative initiative has been developed involving PEPFAR partner organizations and in-country government representatives from throughout the Greater Mekong sub-region.* This regional network has come to be known as the Purple Sky Network.
In 2005, when the first meetings were held, none of the countries in the Greater Mekong sub-region were addressing MSM issues in their national AIDS plans. Participants agreed on a two-year action plan, including 20 specific targets for improving peer education and outreach, coverage of prevention programs, surveillance, and advocacy. Each country developed specific plans for accomplishing these targets. An MSM Regional Coordination Secretariat was established that was responsible for moving the plan forward.
By late 2006, all of the countries in the sub-region addressed MSM in their national AIDS plans. Many also had established MSM working groups that included representatives from government bodies, international organizations, and national and local nongovernmental organizations, who are working to address HIV/AIDS issues that are MSM-related.
* Greater Mekong sub-region countries include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Laos, and the two southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.
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