Right to health for LGBTI communities reaffirmed as a priority for the European Union

Bookmark and Share

Feature story

Right to health for LGBTI communities reaffirmed as a priority for the European Union

08 November 2013

Men who have sex with men have been particularly affected by the AIDS epidemic.  Across the European Union a multi-country survey found that in 2010 around 8% of men who have sex with men were reported to be living with HIV. In 2012, France reported the highest HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men at around 18%, followed by Spain, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal, all with rates well above 10%. The dual stigma and discrimination which continues to surround HIV and homosexuality is one of the barriers preventing people from accessing lifesaving HIV services.

On 6 November leading European policy makers, experts, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights activists and HIV organizations came together in Brussels to highlight the severe impact of HIV for LGBTI communities in Europe. At the European Parliament hearing “Achieving the right to health of LGBTI people – How can we reverse the crisis of HIV, health and human rights affecting LGBTI people in Europe” the participants discussed ways forward to strengthen rights of people affected by HIV in compliance with the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights.


We need to work together to shape, implement and monitor action to fight not just the virus, but also to fight the stigma and discrimination around it. I am committed to doing everything in my power to help fight HIV/AIDS and abolish all forms of stigma and discrimination.

Toni Borg, European Health Commissioner

My HIV status was posted without my consent on Twitter and Facebook, and it spiralled out of control – it can never be erased. But I also found peers and support through the internet.

Tom Hayes, UKPositiveLad, Editor-in-chief of beyondpositive

The significant progress of the global AIDS response is the legacy of the AIDS solidarity movement emerging from the gay communities, saving millions of deaths. We have to pay back that legacy. We can go to the end of the AIDS epidemic, but we cannot leave people behind.

Luiz Loures, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director for Programme

AIDS is no longer a fatal disease, but people living with HIV still have to confront the social death.

Ferenc Bagyinszky, European AIDS Treatment Group