About Hero Awards

Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the HERO Awards is an annual gala event in Bangkok which acknowledges outstanding HIV and LGBT advocates and allies from across Asia and the Pacific.

The HERO Awards also raises money for the HIV prevention and human rights work of APCOM, a leading Asia Pacific HIV and LGBT community network based in Bangkok.

Taking place on Friday 30 November at the British Embassy in Bangkok, the HERO Awards promises a fabulously fun evening of inspiration and celebration as community members and supporters pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions of individuals and organisations who have improved the lives of LGBT people and people affected by HIV throughout the Asia Pacific region. 

The HERO Awards is produced by APCOM and is generously supported by a range of community, corporate and diplomatic partners.

The first HERO Awards took place in 2017 to mark the 10th anniversary commemorations of APCOM.


2017 Award Recipients

Community Hero: Chi Chia-wei (Taiwan)- For over 30 years of service as a fearless and steadfast crusader for LGBT rights in Taiwan, including decades of work to help deliver this year’s historic ruling by Taiwan’s constitutional court in favour of marriage equality.

Transgender Hero: Khartini Slamah (Malaysia) - For over 30 years of service as an outstanding defender of transgender human rights and as a dedicated HIV advocate at the national, regional and International levels, especially in relation to transgender and sex worker communities.

HIV Hero: Gautam Yadav (India) - For the exceptional energy and commitment he has brought to his vocation as an HIV activist and inspirational role model for young people with HIV in India.

Social Justice: Qasim Iqbal (Pakistan) - For his trailblazing advocacy for LGBT health and rights in Pakistan and for his significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of LGBT people and people with HIV as founder of the national NAZ network of LGBT community based organisations.

Health & Wellbeing: Dr Frits van Griensven (Thailand) - For his outstanding work as an HIV researcher and community health advocate with significant contributions made to mapping the HIV epidemic across SE Asia.

Community Ally: Prof Praphan Panupak (Thailand) - For his exceptional work as an HIV researcher, founder and longtime director of Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, and committed advocate for people and communities affected by HIV (recognised as a supporter rather than member of the LGBT or HIV+ communities).

Community Organisation: Bandhu Social Welfare Society (Bangladesh) - For outstanding work as an internationally respected provider of HIV programs, sexual health services and human rights advocacy for LGBT people and communities throughout Bangladesh.

Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement: Ashok Row Kavi (India) - Mr Row Kavi has spent over 40 years as a leading advocate for LGBT people and communities in India where he was a trailblazing activist during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, using his professional experience as a journalist to successfully foster India’s LGBT movement. He then went on to found and head up the Humsafar Trust, one of India’s leading HIV organisations dedicated to addressing the epidemic among vulnerable and marginalized communities. He has also played a key role in helping shape the Asia Pacific response to HIV and LGBT health/rights through significant contributions to many important regional dialogues and strategic initiatives.