Youth voices Count, with the support of Global Forum on MSM and HIV and APCOM organized a training of trainers’ workshop from 18 – 21st of November 2016 in Bangkok Thailand. The training focused on sensitizing health service providers and health care facilities to provide friendly and welcoming health services to young people including especially young gay and bisexual men, other young men who have sex with men and young transgender men and women.
Sexual health is one of the least prioritized aspects in a young person’s life. Especially in an age where they are exploring sexuality, gender identity, relationships and sex, sexual health seem to have less importance. However, many interventions targeted at young people tend to provide only an HIV test or few condoms and lubes forgetting the afore mentioned realities of a young person’s life.
Hence the approach to sensitizing health service providers in this ToT was to recognize this complex and integral aspects of a young person’s life. A young person’s identity consisted of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics, sex experience and pleasure factors need to be taken in to serious consideration when sexual health services are provided. Intersectionalities of young people such as sex work, drug or alcohol use, family violence, intimate partner violence and etc have major implications on the decisions they make about their sexual health.
The training was attended by 27 participants, majority of them young and came from countries including Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kirgizstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Vietnam. All the participants are working with local organizations in different capacities in providing sexual health services to other young people. The diversity of the participants and their experience brought a wide array of diversity to the discussion.
One of the key discussion points during the 4 days workshop is to explore the opportunities of supporting the health service providers in creating friendly and welcoming health services for young people. In that sense the workshop tried to reach beyond recommendations in principal and explore synergies and collaborations. Most often due to many reasons health facilities may not have the expertise or resources to adopt changes. However local organizations and young people could support in different capacities to reach them.
With the support of MSMGF, Vietnam team will be conducting the sensitizing workshops for health service providers in selected clinics. MSMGF is also planning to extend the program in Indonesia and Cambodia as well. Youth Voices Count will incorporate the sensitizing programs in to the on going small scale projects initiative under the IGNITE! Mentorship Program.
—Written by Niluka Perera, Project Officer, Youth Voices Count