World AIDS Day is a day both to remember and honor those whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS. It is also a day to acknowledge the progress that has been made in reducing the spread and impact of the disease. The UNAIDS 2012 World AIDS Day report contains much to be encouraged about – new infection rates have fallen by 50 percent or more in 25 different countries, including 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
However, the UNAIDS report also found that in many countries, people living with HIV and key populations continue to face stigma, discrimination, and injustice. This is why, in 2012, IDLO’s HIV and Health Law Program supported initiatives to address HIV-related discrimination in 23 countries (up from 17 in 2011).
Since 2009, working through local legal NGOs, IDLO has trained 866 lawyers and activists on HIV law, provided 735 clients with HIV-related legal services, and reached 7,752 people on HIV law through outreach and other activities.
IDLO’s Toolkit: Scaling up HIV-related Legal Services is now available in English, French, Arabic, and Chinese (Spanish and Russian forthcoming). The IDLO e-learning course, ‘Using the law and legal policy for an effective response to HIV and AIDS’ is now offered in English, French, Russian and Spanish, and has been completed by people working in 47 different countries. The Russian language course is offered jointly with UNDP.
Unlawful discrimination against people living with HIV also increases the burden on families and communities and drives people away from HIV testing. IDLO believes HIV-related legal services must be part of a comprehensive service package for people living with HIV.