UNAIDS 2013 Global Report stresses need for countries to legalize gay sex

UN Logo on blue brickOn Sep 24, 2013 Gay Star News reported: The UNAIDS Global Report for 2013 has stressed the need for member nations to decriminalize homosexuality if they plan to reach their 2015 goals in containing the HIV virus

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has reported that most member states are well on their way to meeting their 2015 targets on HIV but stresses that member states must reach out to drug users and sex workers and decriminalize homosexuality if they are to fight the virus comprehensively.

The report finds that punitive laws and discriminatory actions are continuing to hamper national responses to HIV and concerted efforts are needed to address these persistent obstacles to the scale up of HIV services for people most in need.

‘National commitments to respond to the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men lag behind those for other key populations,’ the report says.

‘Where data [is] collected, men who have sex with men typically share a disproportionate burden of HIV infection. In many countries, data on HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men [does] not exist. Countries need to undertake more concerted efforts to measure the extent of the epidemic among men who have sex with men while building comprehensive services that remove barriers to access.

‘Stigma, discrimination and oppressive legal environments in many settings discourage men who have sex with men from seeking HIV testing and appropriate, high-quality prevention, care and treatment services. National programs should endeavor to remove legal obstacles to practicing homosexuality, increase sensitivity to the health needs of men who have sex with men, improve access to health services and build programs to intensify HIV preventive behaviors in this population through improved access to condoms and lubricants and by creating a cultural norm of safer sex.

‘Programs should also consider using STI services targeted to men as a gateway to improve HIV prevention, treatment and care for men who have sex with men. At the same time, countries should seize the HIV prevention potential of antiretroviral therapy by accelerating scale-up of HIV treatment and taking steps to implement the 2013 WHO antiretroviral guidelines.’  Continued

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