ISLAMABAD: Dr Mamadou Lamine Sakho, country head of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has appreciated Pakistan over the launch of the Transgender Empowerment Association in the country.Speaking at a ceremony organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) here on Wednesday, Dr Mamadou said that he was pleased that Pakistan Transgender Empowerment Association had been launched. “As we’re celebrating World AIDS Day, it’s my pleasure to express my gratitude to all the people from CSO-CBO and PLWH as well as the government, public and private sector through their high commitment and personal endeavour to contribute to ending AIDS by 2030 in Pakistan.” He added, “Reinvigorating HIV prevention among key population requires domestic investment with tools that can empower them to raise their voice for their rights and this association will definitely be one such platform which will help strengthen the voice and agency role for transgender community,” he said. He maintained that Pakistan was championing in the response to HIV and making progress towards protecting the rights of transgender community and this association would help strengthen the capacity of the community to access to universal health coverage and precisely to HIV testing treatment, care and social support services.Dr Baseer Achakzai, national programme manager of NACP said, “Transgender people are one of the groups most affected by the HIV epidemic and are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population. The term transgender refers to people whose gender identity and expression are different to social expectations of their biological sex at birth. They may see themselves as male, female, gender non-conformist, or one of a spectrum other genders,” he concluded. Published in Daily Times, November 30th 2017.