ASHM welcomes the recent news from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that gender incongruence is no longer classified as a mental health disorder. In its draft version of the updated International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), the WHO has reclassified gender incongruence as a sexual health condition. If approved by the General Health Assembly in 2019, the ICD-11 will be adopted in 2022. The WHO acknowledges with this change, that the classification of gender incongruence as a mental health disorder can result in significant stigma and harm for transgender people.


ASHM International Program: Promoting transgender health and rights

This is an important move forward in promoting the rights and values of access and inclusion for transgender people. Our International Program is promoting transgender health and rights through delivery of a Transgender Health Training to healthcare workers within the Pacific. Working with the transgender community, this training builds on learnings from the 2016 Pacific Multi-Country Mapping and Behavioural Study: HIV and STI Risk Vulnerability among Key Populations, which was conducted by the University of New South Wales  and ASHM. The study found that vulnerable populations in the Pacific, including transgender people, are currently not receiving adequate HIV and sexual health services. 

ASHM's Pacific Sexual Health Workforce Capacity Building Program is a joint regional capacity building initiative between ASHM and The Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine (OSSHHM), funded by the Global Fund and managed by UNDP, that provides clinical mentoring, training and resources to health professionals working in HIV, TB and STIs in eleven Pacific countries. The Introduction to Transgender Health for Pacific Health Workers training has been developed, piloted and rolled out through this innovative project for clinical workforce development.

The goal of the training is to improve the knowledge and awareness of transgender health needs, and to address stigma and discrimination amongst Pacific healthcare workers towards transgender people. The workshops incorporate training on HIV testing, counselling and treatment as part of high quality HIV and sexual health services, and detail the essential components of history taking and examination as entry points for the delivery of comprehensive health care. Furthermore, the training provides information on specific gender-affirming clinical care, including hormone therapy, and working with gender-diverse children and youth.

The Introduction to Transgender Health for Pacific Health Workers training has been developed in collaboration with the Pacific Sexual Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN) and is aligned with the Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care of Trans People and Trans Communities in Asia and the Pacific, developed by the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP). ASHM International are working in collaboration with transgender people from local transgender community organisations for rollout of the training in Vanuatu, Tonga and Kiribati. ASHM International look forward to continuing our partnership with these key local and regional transgender organisations in development of a regional training package focused on high-quality clinical care and health rights for transgender people in Asia and the Pacific.


Contact our International Program

For more information on our work, please email