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Regional Consultant for Desk Review – Terms of Reference

Job Title: Regional Consultant for Desk Review of the literature available on HIV and related health services for transgender people in Asia and particularly Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, and barriers to the services.

Project: Key Population Research and Advocacy (KPRA)

Organization: Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN)

Location: Home-based with travel to Bangkok, Thailand

Contract Length: 13 days

Contract Duration: March – April 2019


Recent reports and research studies offer a glimpse into the lived experiences of trans people worldwide.  Together they paint a picture of stigma, prejudice and discrimination, as well as, for many, harassment, abuse and violence. The impact is that trans people are often edged out onto the margins of society where they experience poor health and wellbeing outcomes. Available data consistently show that HIV disproportionately affects trans women with a pooled prevalence of 17.7 percent between 2000 and 2011 across low- and middle-income countries. Worldwide trans people are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general adult population. Barriers to HIV prevention, treatment and care services, as well as to other healthcare services, aggravate poor health and wellbeing outcomes for trans people.

Asia is home to perhaps 60% of the world’s trans population, and despite this, relatively little primary research data exists in regard to factors impacting trans people’s access to HIV and other healthcare. Much of the available literature is in the form of UN agency and NGO reports that rely heavily on meetings with activists, and case reports. Even with nearly 10-years of Global Fund involvement and support for HIV and TB, very little information exists on how the transgender community accesses prevention and treatment services. In most cases, transgender women are considered under the men who have sex with men (MSM) or sex workers risk group

The proposed research aims to provide important information on HIV and other healthcare for transgender and gender diverse people, the barriers to accessing services, and the ways in which those barriers can be removed through community engagement and empowerment. It is based on the seven research priorities identified in the 2012 UNDP/APTN Lost in Transition Report and recently reaffirmed in the Barriers to Bridges meeting proceedings. The seven priorities include:

    1. Ending the invisibility of trans people and developing research that is tailored to trans persons as specific population, and spotlight the needs of sub-communities such as youth, elderly, rural and trans men;
    1. Utilising trans people as research partners;
    1. Documenting and understanding more fully the HIV vulnerabilities of transgender people, as well as sources of resilience;
    1. Empowering transgender communities through their CBOs and NGOs;
    1. Promoting trans positive attitudes and practices among those who with transgender persons;
    1. Getting health information into the hands of transgender persons and their organizations; and
  1. Promoting trans-competent, comprehensive and accessible healthcare (including for HIV services).

The APTN KPRA project is designed as community-driven and community-inclusive research that documents not only the barriers posed by specific HIV and other healthcare policies and practices but also the behaviors of healthcare providers and services-led by transgender persons. The project is funded through a regional Global Fund grant awarded to Save the Children, Nepal who is the Principal Recipient. The transgender research is intended to serve as a springboard for advocacy on community-led services. Four countries- Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam- have been included in the research study for transgender communities. In addition, there are three other Sub-recipients of regional key population networks including people living with HIV.

The research begins with a preparatory phase of mapping existing literature (published and unpublished) on HIV and other healthcare services (STI, SRH) available for transgender persons, and transgender organizations providing or facilitating HIV prevention and treatment services. Working with national partners, the research will map out community groups, venues, and services.

Phase two of the research will focus on developing the study protocol, tools (including questionnaires), sampling frame, and research methodology. Research methodologies involved should include Focus Group Discussion (FGD), key informant interviews, and a community-based survey. The sampling technique for the community-based survey should be robust. The research tools will be shared with national partners through a regional training. National partners will be responsible for data collection and data input, including conducting FGD and preparing the findings of the FGD sessions for dissemination.

In phase three of the research study each country will share the collected data and FGD findings with APTN for further analysis. This information will be used to prepare a regional report with regional recommendations on the role of community in accessing and delivering HIV and related health services. These report and its findings will be shared with national partners and Save the Children, Nepal for development of national level advocacy plans and further funds will be requested for these activities.

The objectives of APTN’s research are :

    • To understand current availability of HIV and related health services for transgender persons and potential obstacles to accessing services
  • To understand the role of transgender organizations and other organizations providing HIV and related health services for transgender persons

Tasks and Responsibilities

The Regional Consultant for Desk Review is responsible for undertaking a comprehensive desk review of literatures, data, consultations, and previous efforts that address HIV and related health services for transgender people in Asia and particularly Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. The Regional Consultant for Desk Review will work closely with APTN’s Regional Research Consultant (RRC) and KPRA Executive Director and Research Project Manager. The desk review:

  • Will consist of a thorough analysis based on existing data in relation to key questions of the research: 1) What types of HIV and other healthcare services do trans people need? What types are available? 2) What types of available services are in HIV and other healthcare do trans people access / not access?  3) What are the barriers in accessing HIV and other healthcare services? What services would they like to see? 4) What ways are there for reducing barriers to HIV and other healthcare services? And 5) In what ways can trans communities empower themselves to reduce these barriers?;
    • Should identify policies and budgeted programming for services for transgender persons, including analysis of national HIV planning and programming;
    • Will provide an overview of availability, accessibility and quality of current HIV, HIV/TB, sexually transmitted illnesses (STI) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and programmes for transgender persons, especially those funded through Global Fund grants;
  • Will include a comprehensive mapping of transgender NGOs and other national organizations or international NGOs involved in delivery of HIV, HIV/TB, STI and SRH services. The consultant will update APTN’s mapping tool and conduct a mapping of transgender NGOs and other national organizations or international NGOs involved in delivery of HIV, HIV/TB, STI and SRH services;
  • Should capture legal and policy barriers for transgender persons accessing services;
  • Should capture the range of insights and debates that have emerged over the years, as well as indicate recommendations already made to address these challenges;
    • Should critically capture the diversity in experience of between trans people in different social context, socio-economic, geographical location, etc. as well as the ways trans communities overcome the barriers, including , but not limited to, community empowerment, activisms, social movements, policy influencing and lobbying.  
  • Should perform informant interviews with APTN SSRs on quality of national level HIV programming through Global Fund grants;
  • Prepare the report(s) with recommendations for publication;


    • A comprehensive desk review of the literature available on HIV and related health services for transgender people in Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, and barriers to the services;
    • Updated APTN’s mapping tool;
    • The first draft should be made available in due time for APTN team to comment on the draft and for these comments to be incorporated in the later versions;
    • The final report will be reviewed by APTN team with final approval by APTN Executive director;
    • PPT of the desk review that includes the key findings;
  • PPT of the summary report on the mapping of comprehensive mapping of transgender NGOs and other national organizations or international NGOs involved in delivery of HIV, HIV/TB, STI and SRH services.

Qualification of the Consultant

A qualified consultant should have:

    • Proven research and analytical skills and knowledge of HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights for transgender persons
    • Experience and/or academic training in research design and methodology in HIV, key populations, public health or related field
    • Experience working with community-based organizations in Asia-Pacific
    • Strong experience in conducting similar research projects or academic works
    • Strong writing skills, and experience in preparing similar report
    • Fluency in English written and spoken
    • Excellent organizational and planning skills
    • Ability to deliver outcomes in timely manner
  • University education, Master’s/Doctoral degree in public health, social sciences or related discipline
    • A minimum of 5 years professional experience in research related to HIV and AIDS or Sexual Reproductive Health, including cross cutting areas such as advocacy and human rights;
  • Ability to work with remote team

Proposal review/ Scoring criteria

S. N. Major topic Score weightage
1 Research and academic experience 40%
2 Methodology – Research skills as demonstrated in past works 40%
3 Experience working in the region 5%
4 Experience working with Community 15%
Total 100%

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and CV, a technical and financial proposal with detailed timeline. Timeline should start by early March.

Send to:

Please indicate “Application: Regional Consultant for Desk Review” in the subject of email.

Transgender Persons from Asia and the Pacific are highly encouraged to apply.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.


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