20th International AIDS Conference: Parliamentary Group on Population and Development

AGORA moderator's picture

The 20th International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic.

The Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development and the United Nations Development Program partnered to host a special event for Asia-Pacific parliamentarians to share their work and perspectives on working on HIV/AIDS.

What can policy makers do to get to zero? Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths – by 2015.

As the Global Commission on HIV and the Law states in its factsheet,

Laws that criminalise HIV transmission or penalize non-disclosure of HIV status increase stigma and discourage people from getting tested or treated for fear of persecution.

Laws and practices that criminalise and dehumanize populations at highest risk for HIV make them more vulnerable and drive them away from HIV, harm reduction and health services. These include sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men
     o 78 countries criminalise same-sex activity
     o Laws in many countries deny sex workers fundamental civil entitlements, increasing their vulnerability to HIV

Laws and customs that disempower women undermine their ability to protect themselves from HIV
     o Sexual violence, early marriage, and genital mutilation/cutting increase risk of HIV exposure

Policies that deny youth access to sexual and reproductive and HIV services help spread HIV
     o Laws that require parental consent discourage teens from seeking health and HIV prevention services

For a summary of the discussions led by the panelists, including UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, please click here.