IDLO and partners hosted the Second Regional Consultation on Law Enforcement and the HIV Response in Beirut this week. The consultation was attended by representatives from law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations from seven countries in the region: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Sudan.
IDLO's work includes strengthening the legal response to HIV and AIDS in developing nations; fostering awareness of public health goals and human rights among government officials, and among those communities most at risk of HIV infection; and building lawmakers' capacity for reform based on evidence, international law and best practice.
We also work with United Nations agencies to scale up joint efforts towards zero HIV discrimination. Developed in partnership with UNAIDS and UNDP, our Scaling up HIV-Related Legal Services toolkit has been distributed in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian). Separately, we have launched multilingual e-learning courses on HIV Law and Policy.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. They are more vulnerable to HIV because they are often subjected to a range of gender and age based biases, discrimination and violence, including sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking. Despite growing HIV-related responses, they and their communities most often do not have the capacity, voice and power to hold these service providers accountable for improved delivery of quality HIV-related services.
More than 50 experts, representatives of police-forces, community organizations, and government agencies participated in an International Consultation on Policing, Public Health and Vulnerable Populations, hosted by the Law Enforcement and HIV Network (LEAHN) and co-organized by IDLO in Amsterdam on 1 October 2016.
Following a five-month consultative process led by IDLO, the Municipality of San Pedro Sula has adopted a municipal-level policy on HIV/AIDS in the workplace, becoming the first city in Honduras to do so.
The adoption marks a significant step forward in respecting the rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS.
More than thirty representatives of civil society, human rights groups and international organizations attended an IDLO conference in Colombia, this week, on strengthening and expanding legal services available to people living with HIV and other key population groups in Latin America.
IDLO representatives are participating this week in the 21stInternational AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, which is said to be the largest conference on any global health or development issue.
World leaders have committed to ending AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, but stigma and discrimination remain significant obstacles. In particular, police are critical, front-line determinants of risk for many people living with HIV (PLHIV) and members of other key affected populations (KAPs). The negative impact of adverse police behaviors and practices on HIV risk is well documented, and these risks undermine global efforts to end AIDS. Far less well documented, and less common, are attempts to ameliorate this impact by working to change police behaviors.
It is well recognized that discrimination against people living with HIV and affected populations (such as injecting drug users and women in the sex industry) blocks HIV prevention efforts. Discrimination discourages HIV testing and can limit access to care and treatment services. IDLO is working to provide legal information and representation to HIV-affected and key populations in Benin. Through collaboration with local organizations, IDLO is building local capacity in Benin and strengthening the legal response to help those living with HIV assert their rights and address intolerance.
In 2015, Ahmed* was dismissed from his job as a plumber in a Giza club when his employer discovered he was infected with HIV. In February 2016, in a landmark decision for Egypt and the Arab region, an Egyptian court ruled that HIV infection was not grounds for dismissal under the Labor Code (No.12 of 2003).