Archive for the 'UNAIDS' Category

UNAIDS expresses deep concern over impact of Ugandan bill on the rights of gay men

Press Statement from UNAIDS

If signed into law the controversial bill would toughen punishments against gay people in Uganda

GENEVA, 18 February 2014—UNAIDS is deeply concerned about a bill in Uganda that would further toughen punishments against gay men.

The controversial bill, which was passed by the country’s parliament in December 2013, calls for a 14-year jail term for a first conviction, and imprisonment for life for the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’. The signing of the bill into law would have serious human rights implications.

“Uganda was the first country in Africa to break the conspiracy of silence on AIDS—and to give voice to the most marginalized—but now I am scared that this bill will take Uganda backwards, relinquishing its leadership role in the AIDS response,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “I strongly urge the Ugandan authorities to reject the bill and ensure the human rights and dignity of all people in Uganda.”

The bill also has public health implications; studies show that when gay people face discrimination including abuse, incarceration and prosecution—they are less likely to seek HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.

In 2012, there were 1.5 million people living with HIV in Uganda and 140 000 new HIV infections. Globally gay men are around 13 times more likely to become infected with HIV than the general population, emphasizing the urgent need to ensure safe access to HIV prevention and treatment services for all people everywhere.

UNAIDS urges the government of Uganda, and all governments around the world, to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct; implementing laws to protect people from violence and discrimination; promoting campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia; and ensuring access to health services including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

Let your voice be heard on HIV and the Post-2015 development agenda

unaidslogoFrom UNAIDS

The international community is talking a lot about what development will look like post the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Of great concern to UNAIDS/us is making sure that HIV, and the response to it, remain a central feature in the Post-2015 agenda. Why? Because the global HIV epidemic remains one of the world’s leading causes of early death and is both a driver and consequence of inequality and social injustice. The AIDS response has also been a pioneer and pathfinder on many fronts, and the innovation, dynamism, community leadership and global solidarity that characterizes the AIDS movement can make critical contributions to doing health and development differently in the Post-2015 era.

To capture your voices and views on how AIDS and health should be reflected Post-2015, UNAIDS is hosting an online and open-to-all conversation that will be moderated by nine individuals with long-standing experience in HIV and health. This online conversation will run for two weeks, between 21 January to 3 February.

To participate, visit and start sharing your thoughts on the following three thematic questions up for discussion:

1: The unfinished HIV agenda: How is the HIV epidemic, and responses to it, relevant to the new Post-2015 health agenda in your community, nation, region or sector?

2: AIDS, health and development: What are the key factors that account for the significant progress seen in the AIDS response and how can these factors be applied to doing health and development differently?

3: Decision-making and accountability: What changes to systems of decision-making, monitoring, evaluation and accountability are needed to guide efforts towards the end of the HIV epidemic in the Post-2015 development agenda?

A Consultation Report will emerge from the e-discussion.  It will be shared broadly and also used in these specific ways:

  • The Report will influence the discussion and outcomes of the High-Level Health Thematic meeting (5-6 March in Botswana).  In particular, it will inform the Health Thematic synthesis paper.
  • It will be sent to the UNAIDS-LANCET Commission as a primary resource.
  • It will be used to write editorials and blogs, including those by the UNAIDS Executive Director and e-Consultation Moderators.
  • Participants will be encouraged to share the Report widely through their networks.

UNAIDS Reinforces Role in Combating HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Thank you to amfAR for allowing Global Equality Today to re-post


NEW YORK, June 28, 2010—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday welcomed the news that the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) called  for the intensifying of efforts to meet the health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people and applauded the U.S. State Department for helping to support the board’s decision.

The PCB meeting, which last week brought together more than 300 participants and observers from United Nations Member States, international organizations, and NGOs—including representatives from amfAR—marked a turning point in the official UNAIDS response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MSM are deemed a vulnerable population in large part because widespread prejudice and discrimination often consign them to the margins of society and limit their access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Currently, nearly 80 countries have laws that ban same-sex sexual behavior, and, on average, MSM in developing countries are 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population.

“We cannot reach vulnerable populations with life-saving public health services if their behavior is against the law,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS.

The U.S. State Department, which oversees PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), one of the largest international contributors to the AIDS relief effort, recently identified MSM as a key population in its five-year strategy. Addressing the board, a PEPFAR representative underscored the important role that targeting MSM and protecting human rights must play in an effective global HIV/AIDS response.

“As we intensify outreach to persons who engage in high-risk behaviors, including MSM, sex workers, and injecting drug users, our strategies must be sensitive to the individuals participating in high-risk behaviors,” said Deborah von Zinkernagel, principal deputy global AIDS coordinator for the State Department, during her remarks at the meeting. “No matter how effective the intervention, it is imperative that we engage with respect for human rights.”

With the new direction, the PCB requested that UN Member States, with support from UNAIDS, determine ways to involve key populations at risk in HIV programs and data collection.

amfAR has long recognized that a strong HIV/AIDS response must include specific outreach to MSM and transgender populations. In response to high infection rates among MSM, in 2007 amfAR established the MSM Initiative, which so far has awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to support 79 front-line organizations serving MSM in 53 countries.

“While community groups are leading the response in many low- and middle-income countries, their impact will remain limited if MSM and other vulnerable groups are not included in government and multilateral planning efforts,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy, who addressed the board. “Only by including the affected group in decision making and program design can you be effective.”

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

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