Press statement

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

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Bhutan, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Singapore, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cook Islands, Mauritius and Dominica have all repealed laws that had criminalized LGBTQ+ people.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.


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.


Michael Hollingdale
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