No one left behind
12 December 2013
Criminalization, stigma and discrimination continue to be the main barriers which are preventing people most in need from accessing lifesaving HIV services.
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures met with Dutch Aids ambassador Lambert Grijns and government funded community groups in the Netherlands for a two day meeting to reinforce efforts to enhance services for key populations and strengthen their human rights.
The country has been recognized for its pioneering role and willingness to take a high-profile stance on difficult issues related to people who use drugs, men who have sex with men and sex workers and have been a key and consistent player in the global efforts against AIDS.
In Amsterdam’s vibrant red light district, Dr Loures met with Dutch police to discuss law enforcement, sex work and HIV. The police explained that the decriminalization of sex work has had a positive impact on reducing new HIV infections with sex workers more at ease in accessing HIV prevention services, no longer fearing legal reprisals.
Dr Loures encouraged the Netherlands to continue its specialized work with key populations as a global champion for human rights and key populations. The Government and civil society groups will also continue to collaborate with UNAIDS at the country and global level to protect and promote human rights.
“Men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who use drugs have to be at the heart of the fight against HIV in order to have impact – that’s the Dutch lesson we learned in the past 30 years and is relevant for other countries. To do this meaningfully requires collaboration between UNAIDS, governments and NGO’s.”
“A targeted and focused collaboration between UNAIDS, Dutch-funded NGOs and Dutch Embassies in selected countries will create synergy and help raise impact. The Dutch experience on working with key populations proves to be an inspiring example.”
"Protecting and respecting the human rights of all people is essential in ensuring access to health services. Everyone has the right to health and no one should be denied because of who they are or how they live their lives."