In June 2013, a regional dialogue was held in Bangkok with over 20 Asia Pacific faith leaders – including Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and Hindu – and representatives of communities most at risk of HIV—including sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and transgender people. Participants discussed strengthening cooperation between faith-based organizations and networks of populations most affected by HIV.
The dialogue was hosted by the Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS (AINA), International Network of Religious Leaders living with or affected by HIV (INERELA+ AP), UNAIDS Asia Pacific and the Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV (ANP+).
During the meeting, the challenges posed by HIV for faith communities were discussed, including how theological tenets often mean faith communities do not feel permitted to speak about or engage with certain communities, practices or behaviours. The examples of faith leaders from various countries who have taken particular stands on controversial issues were shared. As a result of the dialogue, a joint statement was adopted – The Bangkok Declaration – and the group committed to continue the dialogue and joint action at country level.
UNAIDS Asia Pacific Article and photos available here.
(photo from https://www.facebook.com/UNAIDS )