Human rights

UNAIDS stands with LGBTQ+ communities worldwide as PRIDE celebrations get underway

29 May 2024

GENEVA, 29 May 2024—As LGBTQ+ communities and allies take to the streets to mark PRIDE month, UNAIDS is speaking out in solidarity, rejecting the criminalization, discrimination and stigmatization of LGBTQ+ people and insisting on respect for all.

“The PRIDE celebrations are a demonstration of the power of inclusivity,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima. “PRIDE has brought the world a long way in the struggle to protect the human rights of LGBTQ+ people. So much has been won. But the progress that has been made is under threat. The world needs the spirit of PRIDE more than ever today: to protect everyone’s health, we need to protect everyone’s rights.”

There is much to celebrate. UNAIDS data shows that 123 countries do not penalize same-sex relations. This represents the highest number of countries rejecting criminalization ever.

More and more countries have been scrapping the harmful punitive anti-LGBTQ+ laws which are often leftovers of colonial rule. Since 2019 alone, Botswana, Gabon, Angola, Bhutan, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Singapore, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cook Islands, Mauritius and Dominica have all repealed laws that had criminalized LGBTQ+ people.

However, the human rights of the LGBTQ+ community are threatened by a globally coordinated and well-funded extremist anti-rights network who are spending millions promoting hate and social division and are proposing ever more draconian laws to punish LGBTQ+ people. Attacks on LGBTQ+ people violate human rights and undermine public health.

This perilous time calls for courage and solidarity from everyone. PRIDE has always been as much about protest and commemoration as celebration. The first marchers in New York more than 50 years ago knew that PRIDE was the antidote to stigma and discrimination – a rejection of the shame that others sought to impose on them.

Movements spearheaded by LGBTQ+ activists have driven much of the progress that has been made in protecting everyone’s human rights and protecting everyone’s health.

Today we are at a hinge moment: the end of AIDS as a public health threat is realisable in this decade, but progress is imperiled by the pushback on human rights.

At a time when support for human rights defenders is vital and urgent, funding support for civil society organizations is shrinking, as donor countries cut their budgets.

The evidence is crystal clear: stigma kills, solidarity saves lives.

This is a moment for solidarity. This is a moment for PRIDE.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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UNAIDS expresses deep concern over the passing of new anti-LGBT legislation in Iraq

30 April 2024

GENEVA, 30 April 2024—The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is deeply concerned about the impact of the harmful new legislation in Iraq amending the 1988 anti-sex work law to criminalize LGBTQ+ people. The legislation imposes a prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years for same-sex sexual relations. Transgender people face up to three years imprisonment for expressing their gender or receiving gender affirmation care.   Individuals also face up to seven years for promoting homosexuality. And up to three years for providing gender affirmation care.

Criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships and gender expression not only violates fundamental human rights but also undermines efforts to end AIDS by driving marginalized populations underground and away from essential health services, including life-saving HIV prevention, treatment and care services.

Globally, the movement for human rights has made progress in the past 40 years. At the start of the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980s, most countries criminalized same-sex sexual activity between men, now two thirds do not. An increasing number of countries have also recognized the rights of trans and other gender diverse people. However, this new legislation in Iraq represents a significant setback and is part of a wave of punitive and restrictive laws being passed that undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ people.  

The legislation passed in parliament is an amendment to an existing 1988 anti-sex work law which continues to criminalize both the selling and buying of sexual services. The amendments passed on Saturday 27 April 2024 increase the penalties in relation to sex work. These laws, which countries committed to removing under the 2021 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, likewise undermine the human rights and public health of sex workers.

UNAIDS calls upon the authorities of Iraq to overturn this discriminatory legislation and fulfill its obligations under international human rights law to protect the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. UNAIDS stands in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people and communities and reaffirms its commitment to work with partners to promote equality, end stigma and discrimination, uphold human rights—including the right to health, and ensure access to comprehensive HIV services for everyone, everywhere.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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UNAIDS welcomes Court’s ruling to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in Dominica

22 April 2024

22 April 2024 – UNAIDS welcomes the decision of the High Court of Dominica to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in Dominica.

Today the Court ruled that sections 14 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA), which had criminalised consensual same sex activity between adults, are unconstitutional under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Court ruled that the former provisions violated the right to liberty which is guaranteed by section 1(a) of the Constitution, freedom of expression which is guaranteed by sections 1 (b) and section 10 (1) and protection of personal privacy which guaranteed by section 1 (c).  

In a decision by Justice Kimberly Cenac-Phulgence on a claim brought by a gay man, the Court found that:

“criminalising sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex as effected by sections 14 and 16 of SOA is an unjustifiable restriction on the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression in a free and democratic society”.

Equally powerfully, the court accepted that the right to protection of privacy of the home encompasses:

“private and family life and the personal sphere which includes one’s sexual identity and orientation as well as intimate activity with a partner of a person’s choice. Therefore Sections 14 and 16 of the SOA contravene the Constitution in so far as they intrude on the private home life of an individual by proscribing the choice of consenting adults as to whom to engage in intimate sexual activity with,  and are therefore, void.”

Dominica is the sixth country in the Caribbean in which powerful community action has resulted in the removal of the criminalisation of same-sex relations. As well as advancing human rights for everyone including LGBTQ people, this legal progress will also advance public health for everyone. The series of rulings made across the Caribbean are helping the region to speed up its progress towards zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination for affected people.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said:

“Today another Caribbean Court has struck down the harmful old colonial punitive law which had criminalised LGBTQ people. Dominica’s ruling is a win for public health as well as for human rights. Protecting the human rights of all people is essential to protect the health of all people. Courts, as the guardians of written Constitutions which enshrine fundamental rights, are vital pathways for the realisation of everyone’s rights.”

UNAIDS congratulates Dominica and especially honours the fortitude of frontline communities in Dominica for leading the movement for the human rights of all people.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

UNAIDS notes the judgment of the Constitutional Court of Uganda which has struck down certain parts of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023

03 April 2024

GENEVA/JOHANNESBURG, 3 April 2024—The Constitutional Court of Uganda has today struck down certain sections of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023.

“The Constitutional Court of Uganda made a judgment today to strike down certain sections of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023. Evidence shows that criminalizing populations most at risk of HIV, such as the LGBTQ+ communities, obstructs access to life-saving health and HIV services, which undermines public health and the overall HIV response in the country,” said Anne Githuku-Shongwe, UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “To achieve the goal of ending the AIDS pandemic by 2030, it is vital to ensure that everyone has equal access to health services without fear."

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

On the 10th anniversary of Zero Discrimination Day UNAIDS calls for the protection of human rights as a path to protecting health for all

27 February 2024

GENEVA, 27 February 2024—Zero Discrimination Day was established by UNAIDS ten years ago to advance equality and fairness for everyone regardless of gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity or HIV status. However, progress is in peril.

Attacks on the rights of women and girls, of LGBTQ+ people, and of other marginalized communities are on the rise. And when laws, policies, practices or norms enshrine punishment, discrimination or stigma for people because they are women, or are LGBTQ+, or are migrants, or sex workers, or use drugs, the results lead to failing public health as these communities are pushed away from vital health and social services.

“The attacks on rights are a threat to freedom and democracy and are harmful to health. Stigma and discrimination obstruct HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care, and hold back progress towards ending AIDS by 2030,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “It is only by protecting everyone’s rights that we can protect everyone’s health.”

There has been progress. At the start of the AIDS pandemic 40 years ago, two thirds of countries in the world criminalized LGBTQ+ people, today two-thirds of countries do not.

38 countries around the world have pledged to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination and today 50 million more girls are in school than in 2015.

To continue this progress UNAIDS urges support for women’s movements and movements for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, for racial justice, for economic justice, for climate justice, and for peace. As communities across the world stand up for rights, the United Nations is not only on their side but by their side.

On this Zero Discrimination Day (1 March), and across the whole month of March, events and activities will remind the world of this vital lesson and call to action: by protecting everyone’s rights, we can protect everyone’s health.

“Through upholding rights for all, we will be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and to secure a safer, fairer, kinder, and happier world – for everyone,” added Ms Byanyima.

 

 

 

 

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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UNAIDS Geneva
Charlotte Sector
tel. +41 79 500 8617
sectorc@unaids.org

Watch: By protecting everyone’s rights, we can protect everyone’s health

Winnie Byanyima on Zero Discrimination Day

Watch: Rights for All means Health for All

Zero Discrimination Day 2024

Statement from UNAIDS on the decision of the High Court of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to uphold discriminatory and harmful laws

25 February 2024

UNAIDS is concerned about the impact on peoples’ health and rights following the decision of the High Court of St. Vincent and the Grenadines regarding sections 146 and 148 of the Criminal Code, which upholds discriminatory and harmful laws against LGBTQ people.

On Friday, February 16, 2024, the High Court, in an oral delivery, denied the claim by two Vincentian nationals, who reside outside of the country, that sections 146 and 148 of the Criminal Code criminalising buggery between any two persons with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, violate the fundamental rights to privacy, personal liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and protection from discrimination. The Court dismissed in their entirety all claims by the two Claimants and awarded the sum of EC$7,500 prescribed costs to the Attorney General to be paid by each of the Claimants. 

In the written decision published February 22, 2024, the Court in dismissing the consolidated claims of Javin Johnson and Sean MacLeish held that the Claimants had failed to establish on the evidence, a present or existing breach of any alleged rights due to lack of locus standi (the requisite standing to invoke a review by the Court) as the Claimants do not reside in the State and had not for years prior to the filing of the claims.

UNAIDS is particularly concerned that the judgment referred to protecting public health and tackling the HIV epidemic as justifying punitive anti-LGTBQ laws, because the evidence shows that such laws hinder efforts to protect public health and tackle the HIV epidemic. At paragraph 267 of the judgment the court asserted: 

to my mind the thought of a public health crisis occasioned by an unstemmed deluge of new HIV cases is a real and serious concern which reasonably justifies a public health response of the kind embedded in the challenged provisions”.

In fact, studies show that these laws have negative health outcomes. A punitive legal environment, including criminalisation of same sex relationships, drives people underground and away from vital health services, including HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care. To achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, it is vital to ensure that everyone has equal access to essential services without fear, stigma or discrimination.

UNAIDS has estimated that not achieving decriminalization of key populations in all countries would result in about 750 000 cumulative new HIV infections from 2020 to 2030.

The decision made in the High Court of St. Vincent and the Grenadines stands in stark contrast to the rulings in Belize, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados where the courts ruled that laws which criminalise persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity violate the protected rights to dignity, privacy, personal liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and protection from discrimination.

Regardless of the outcome of this court decision, UNAIDS holds hope that the courts will serve as a vital last resort for social justice, the protection of human rights and the advancement of public health for improved health and wellbeing for all. UNAIDS work to end AIDS and to leave no one behind will continue in partnership with communities and with all branches of government, including the courts.

Punitive laws obstruct the end of AIDS and ultimately hurt everyone’s health. As we prepare for observance of the tenth anniversary of Zero Discrimination Day on March 1st, 2024, we pay tribute to the courage of communities, and call on all duty bearers to protect the health of all by protecting the human rights for all.

NOTE FOR THE EDITORS:

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

ZERO DISCRIMINATION DAY

March 1st this year is the tenth anniversary of Zero Discrimination Day. Upholding everyone’s rights is the responsibility of us all. Everyone can play a part in ending discrimination. On 1 March, and across the whole month of March, events, activities and messages will remind the world of this vital lesson and call to action: to protect everyone’s health, protect everyone’s rights. #ZeroDiscrimination

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UNAIDS Multi-country Office for the Caribbean
Richard Amenyah, Multi-country Director
amenyahr@unaids.org

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UNAIDS Latin America and Caribbean
Daniel de Castro, Regional Communications and Advocacy Adviser
tel. +507 6998 3175
decastrod@unaids.org

Zero Discrimination Day 2024

UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima responds to the passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill in Ghana’s parliament

28 February 2024

Responding to the passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill in Ghana’s parliament, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said:

“The Human Sexual rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, a private member’s bill passed by parliament, has not yet become a law in Ghana. 

If the bill does become a law, it will affect everyone. 

Ghana is respected as a stable country where the rule of law prevails, a member of the Human Rights Council, and a global leader in fighting inequality. African values and principles of Ubuntu, dignity, non-discrimination, equality, empathy, protection from violence and care for each other shaped Ghana’s independence struggles, and have continued to be at the heart of Ghana’s society and constitutional democracy. Approaches rooted in inclusion of all people have been crucial to Ghana’s progress in the HIV response. To achieve the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, it is vital to ensure that everyone has equal access to essential services without fear, stigma or discrimination, and that providers of life-saving HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services are supported in their work.  

If Human Sexual rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill becomes a law, it will exacerbate fear and hatred, could incite violence against fellow Ghanaian citizens, and will negatively impact on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association.

If it becomes law, it will obstruct access to life-saving services, undercut social protection, and jeopardize Ghana’s development success.

Evidence shows that punitive laws like this Bill are a barrier to ending AIDS, and ultimately undermine everyone’s health.”

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

UNAIDS Executive Director: let women and girls lead to protect and advance human rights globally

01 February 2024

OSLO/GENEVA, 1 February 2024—At a conference hosted in Oslo by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, has made an impassioned call to all international partners to support women and girls from marginalized communities at the frontlines of the defence of human rights. Only by ensuring that the rights of everyone are protected can the world ensure that the health of everyone is protected, and that the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.

In her keynote speech at the Rights and Resistance conference Ms Byanyima said, “We cannot separate sustainable development from human rights. We must put human rights at the centre of our development efforts. The AIDS movement, of which I am proud to be part, has been resolute in this. We have demonstrated how patriarchal, racist, and homophobic laws, policies, practices and norms undermine health and hurt everyone.”

She said that progress was in peril from a backlash on human rights but that hard-won gains could be protected and expanded by doing three things:

  • Deepening our understanding of the pushback on human rights and democracy
  • Bringing our efforts together and connecting the dots to link the struggles, thinking long term and being bold
  • Backing and resourcing the people most impacted by the attacks on rights—foremost by supporting women and girls from the poorest and most marginalized communities

In her speech, Ms Byanyima underlined some of the gains made by human rights defenders in recent years through the leadership of women and girls and LGBTQ communities.

  • 50 million more girls are in school than were in 2015
  • Whereas a few decades ago, two-thirds of countries criminalised same-sex relationships, today two-thirds of countries do not criminalise them.

Opening the conference, Norway’s International Development Minister, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, said, “We have an obligation to back those who risk their lives fighting for values that we take for granted. Norway will continue aiding those actors on the ground who stress the universality of human rights. We will support free and independent media, including at the local level. Finally, all Norwegian development aid shall be rights-based."

Human rights violations continue to drive the HIV epidemic among women and girls. Every week, 4000 adolescent girls and young women aged 15—24 became infected with HIV globally in 2022. 3100 of these infections occurred in sub-Saharah Africa.

Upholding the rights of marginalized communities is vital for enabling success in the HIV response. When marginalized communities are criminalized or stigmatized, their vulnerability to HIV infection increases, and their access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services is obstructed. UNAIDS research shows that the decriminalization of same-sex relationships is a crucial step in ending the AIDS pandemic.

UNAIDS is highlighting that the recent, well-coordinated and well-funded global pushback against women’s rights, against the human rights of LGBTQ people, against sexual and reproductive health and rights, against democracy and against civic space is not only a threat to everyone’s freedom, it is a threat to everyone’s health. In response to this threat, the AIDS movement and its allies are pushing back against the pushback, reminding world leaders of their commitments to uphold all human rights for all people.

UNAIDS is supporting frontline human rights defenders in both crisis response and in the longer-term work and is helping to expand support for human rights by demonstrating that laws, policies and practices which uphold human rights help countries to ensure public health and to get on track to end AIDS.

The UNAIDS Executive Director expressed confidence that the advancement of rights can be won. “Progress is not automatic. But if we are courageous and united, progress is possible,” said Ms Byanyima.

The full version of Ms. Byanyima’s speech (delivered at 12:50 CET February 1) can be viewed here.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Tajikistan takes a positive step towards decriminalization of HIV exposure and transmission

30 January 2024

In an important decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court on December 26, 2023, Tajikistan has marked a significant step towards decriminalization of HIV exposure and transmission in its pursuit of justice for people living with or affected by HIV.  

Through a new resolution, the courts are asked to examine more objectively issues related to criminal liability for HIV exposure and transmission under Article 125 of the Criminal Code. The resolution obliges judicial practice to be based on new norms that take into account international standards and recommendations including the Undetectable = Untransmittable concept endorsed by UNAIDS and WHO which asserts that people who are living with HIV who are on antiretroviral treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV. 

Article 125 of the Criminal Code currently criminalizes HIV transmission and exposure with a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment (Part 1), while transmission by someone aware of their status is penalized with two to five years’ imprisonment (Part 2), increased to five to ten years’ when committed against multiple people or a minor (Part 3). 

In some cases, decisions were made solely based on a person’s HIV-positive status, criminalizing people living with HIV rather than ensuring access to HIV services, treatment and support. 

More than 70% of people convicted under Article 125 have been women living with HIV. Women living with HIV may be subjected to domestic violence, stigma, and discrimination and do not seek justice in courts, due to the fear of accidental disclose of their HIV status and further criminal prosecution. 

“This new resolution is encouraging because it allows for more fair interpretation of existing laws (which is very important) but it does not establish new laws or change the Criminal Code which still criminalizes HIV exposure and transmission. Therefore, it is important to continue advocacy to change the Criminal Code and decriminalize HIV transmission and exposure.” said Tahmina Haidarova, Head of the Network of Women Living with HIV in Tajikistan. 

The new move towards a more just legal framework has been the result of collaborative efforts of the Supreme Court and civil society organizations, as well as long-term advocacy of UNAIDS, UNDP, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria that reflects a holistic and inclusive approach to addressing the complexities of HIV-related legal matters. 

The consequences of a punitive approach, where law enforcement takes precedence over medical professionals, has contributed to the growth of the HIV epidemic in Tajikistan - the number of new HIV infections has increased by 20% over the past 10 years. The percentage of new HIV cases among women has also grown - from 31% in 2011 to 36% in 2022.  

International partners, including UNAIDS, UNDP, and the Global Fund, echo the call to repeal laws criminalizing HIV. The negative impact of such legislation on HIV testing rates and adherence to treatment cannot be overstated. An evidence-based approach is crucial for fostering a healthier society. 

Tajikistan's move towards HIV decriminalization marks a positive step towards commitment to justice, inclusivity, and public health,” said Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “This journey is guided by the principles of compassion, cooperation, and evidence-based policymaking. UNAIDS, together with partners, welcomes the efforts of the Supreme Court to reduce prosecution and humanize the judicial system. UNAIDS will continue to support the country in its journey to fulfil the human rights of all people living with HIV.” 

 

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