The latest data from the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic find that HIV is growing faster in Eastern Europe and the CIS than in any other region in the world. The epidemic has long been fuelled by stigma and discrimination that has not been adequately addressed through national legal systems. Several countries still have policies that interfere with the accessibility and effectiveness of HIV-related measures for prevention and care. Examples include laws criminalizing consensual sex between men, prohibiting condom and needle access for prisoners, and using residency status to restrict access to prevention and treatment services. At the same time, laws and regulations protecting people with HIV from discrimination are not enacted, or fully implemented or enforced.
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law seeks to further efforts in the region to improve HIV responses by addressing key legal barriers and promoting enabling legal environments. On 18-19 May 2011, the Commission will host an Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Dialogue in Chisinau, Moldova, to learn the experiences and perspectives of individuals, communities, policy and law makers and law enforcement actors in the region. The Regional Dialogue will be an opportunity for those profoundly and directly affected by and vulnerable to HIV, including those whose voices are silenced by restrictive legal environments, to be heard on issues of human rights, law and HIV.