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UNAIDS call for repeal of laws criminalising same sex relations
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has called on countries around the world to repeal damaging laws that criminalise ‘adult consensual same sex sexual contact’. Laws criminalising people in this way not only contravene their human rights, increasing levels of discrimination and violence against these groups, often they also limit their ability to access to their right to health. Crucially, the criminalisation of sexual minority groups, who are often those most vulnerable to HIV, makes the delivery of targeted HIV prevention and treatment services very challenging.
This call comes at a crucial time as the Supreme Court of India has this week reinstated a law criminalising consensual sex between adults of the same gender. The law, dating back 150 years, was deemed unconstitutional in 2009 and had been annulled by the Delhi High Court. This move had enabled a 50 percent increase in HIV services targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in the last four years alone. With the reintroduction of this law, it is feared that MSM, lesbian, bisexual and transgender populations in India face renewed discrimination and fear of prosecution.
AVERT echoes the UNAIDS call on governments around the world to protect the human and health rights of their citizens by repealing archaic laws criminalising same sex consensual sexual contact among adults. This is essential if we are to reach the target of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.