Press release

Expertise France partners with UNAIDS to fight HIV stigma and discrimination in western and central Africa

GENEVA, 28 February 2024—The French public international cooperation agency ‘Expertise France’ and UNAIDS have signed a new partnership agreement to fight stigma and discrimination in six western and central African countries.

The aim of the €1.92 million partnership called, "Community response to stigma and discrimination and legislative reform," is to promote access to inclusive HIV services that respect human rights for key populations, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender people and young women and adolescent girls in Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Central African Republic, Senegal and Togo.

"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 and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. “It is only by protecting everyone’s rights that we can protect everyone’s health, so by joining forces with Expertise France we can uphold rights for those in need in the region.”

In the six countries, key populations are disproportionately affected by HIV. In Benin, for example, HIV prevalence in 2022 was 7.2% among sex workers, 8.3% among men who have sex with men and 21.9% among transgender people—while the rate is 0.8% among the general population. In Cameroon, HIV prevalence was 24.3% among sex workers, 20.6% among men who have sex with men and 4% among prisoners—while the rate is 2.6% among the general population.

Anne-Claire Amprou, Global Health Ambassador for France, Ms Byanyima, Jérôme Bonnafont, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and Jérémie Pellet, Director General of Expertise France, attended the signing ceremony at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

"This agreement aims to reduce inequalities in access to care and treatment for populations most vulnerable to HIV in western and central Africa. France is thus making a commitment to global health alongside UNAIDS, in an approach based on equity, solidarity and development," said Mr Bonnafont.

Ms Amprou added, "Through this partnership, France is pleased to be able to reaffirm its commitment to strengthening healthcare systems, as well as combatting stigmatization, discrimination and gender inequalities in access to healthcare for the most vulnerable populations, by supporting for community-led efforts.”

As part of the Global AIDS strategy both France and UNAIDS are striving to improve legal and social responses to HIV with a particular focus on reducing gender inequalities and gender-based violence. This new initiative will also aim to reduce systemic barriers by promoting a more favorable legal framework that respects human rights and facilitates better access to legal services.

Jérémie Pellet, Director General of Expertise France said, "This partnership with UNAIDS embodies our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable communities and promoting a more just and inclusive society."

Expertise France via ‘L'Initiative’, an organization which helps national partners prepare and implement projects using funds from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is funding the project. The funds complement efforts under the Global Fund's 7th round of funding, underlining the importance of coordinated action to remove human rights barriers to accessing health services.

Led by the UNAIDS western and central Africa regional office, based in Dakar, the project will be implemented with the support of the Civil Society Institute for HIV and Health, Alliance Côte d'Ivoire and Coalition PLUS.


Expertise France

Expertise France is the French public international cooperation agency. It designs and implements projects which aim to contribute to the balanced development of partner countries, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda and long-term development.


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 and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


France created L’Initiative in 2011 in response to the difficulties that certain countries, particularly French-speaking ones, were having in accessing Global Fund grants. The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Expertise France, the government agency for international technical cooperation, oversee L’Initiative.


Expertise France
Eric Fleutelot


Charlotte Sector

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