Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The 4th Asia-Pacific Conference of Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (Theme: ‘New Frontiers in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’) was held in Hyderabad,India last October 29-31, 2007. It brought together around 2,000 participants with diverse backgrounds, situations and expertise from 42 countries in an enabling environment of sharing and exchanging ideas, networking, collaborating and learning. Conference highlights included symposia, plenaries, skills-building workshops, satellite sessions and poster-displays on emerging challenges in HIV/AIDS, LGBTs, family planning, sex education, adolescent issues and other reproductive and sexual health and rights (RSHR) concerns.
The conference gave me an opportunity to present a paper entitled, “Sexual and Protective Practices Among Self-Identified Homosexuals in Metro Manila, Philippines” which drew an audience from different countries. Several questions and inquiries were posted and answered throughout my presentation. At the end of my presentation, I felt drained and exhausted but was relieved and fulfilled with the turn-out of my presentation in terms of numbers and the thought-provoking questions that transpired. Overall, I can say (with conviction) that it was a success.
Looking back, I believe that the conference explored a few new frontiers on reproductive and sexual health and rights. However, it gave me a deeper commitment in continuing and expanding my sphere of influence in sexual and reproductive health and rights especially in issues pertaining to adolescent reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTs. I was also able to take a stock of the progress and sharing of experiences providing a common platform in discussing issues and enhancing understanding and promoting the agenda on SRHR. Moreover, the conference brought me to forge and strengthen old as well as new linkages with fellow RSHR advocates across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In summary, it was a good conference, nonetheless, but not an exceptional one so to speak.
I am looking forward to the 5th Asia-Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights which will be held in Hanzhou, China in 2009.
By Rikki Trinidad, HAIN Research Associate