UNAIDS and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) have signed a cooperation agreement to work together in addressing HIV-related discrimination. Cooperation activities will focus on creating enabling legal environments that support access to health and promote non-discrimination for vulnerable populations living with and affected by HIV. Activities will include strengthening national legal capacity— within the health and justice sectors, government ministries and civil society organizations—to review punitive laws that obstruct access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services. Both organizations will also support networks of legal professionals, government representatives and civil society organizations working on issues related to HIV, law, access to justice and human rights.
The agreement will facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices. It will also promote cooperation in research and collaboration on publications on law and policy reform to protect and promote the human rights of people living with and affected by HIV. Protective laws, adequately resourced and enforced, help broaden access to essential health and social services, enhance the quality and effectiveness of services and protect people living with or vulnerable to HIV from stigma, discrimination and violence. In 2012, national governments in 60% of countries reported the existence of laws, regulations or policies that present obstacles to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for key populations and vulnerable groups. Discriminatory laws—and law enforcement—include those that restrict women’s equal access to education, employment, property, credit or divorce; law enforcement that drives sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs underground and away from HIV services; and overly broad laws on HIV transmission.
"Working together to ensure a protective legal environment for people most affected by HIV will ensure that everyone can have access to lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services without fear of discrimination or legal reprisals."
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé
"Ending stigma and discrimination are essential to fight HIV. This includes having legal systems that safeguard equality and human rights, judges that do not apply prejudice, empowered citizens, and health services provided without discrimination."
IDLO Director-General, Irene Khan