New York – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have announced a new two-year partnership to scale key population-led efforts to address discriminatory laws and HIV-related criminalisation in PEPFAR-supported countries. The partnership will involve close collaboration with people living with HIV and other key populations, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund).
Together with local key population groups, governments and multilateral partners, UNDP and PEPFAR will help scale successful strategies and tactics on the ground, strengthen key population leadership and engagement to drive progress on the historic 10-10-10 HIV targets, which countries committed to as part of the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. The targets call for transformative action to reduce stigma and discrimination and remove punitive laws and policies impacting people living with HIV and other key populations.
The new partnership comes at a critical time for the global HIV response. No country is on track to achieve the 10-10-10 targets by 2025. Key populations continue to face stigma, discrimination and criminalisation often fueled by hostile legal environments that impede access to life-saving HIV services. In 2021, key populations and their sexual partners accounted for 70% of all new HIV infections globally, 94 percent of all new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa and 51 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. This marks the first-time key populations and their sexual partners have accounted for the majority of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa.
Enabling legal and policy environments are critical for effective HIV responses. Research shows that countries criminalising key populations saw approximately 18-24 percent worse HIV outcomes. Countries with laws on non-discrimination, human rights institutions and gender-based violence, on the other hand, had better outcomes and significantly higher knowledge of HIV status and higher viral suppression among people living with HIV. Despite this evidence, countries around the world continue to criminalise key populations, with at least 134 countries criminalising HIV exposure, non-disclosure and/or transmission.
“By working hand-in-hand with key populations and governments, UNDP and PEPFAR will help countries advance more equitable HIV responses and regain lost ground,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “Evidence shows clearly that protective laws and policies grounded in equity and human rights contribute to better health outcomes. If we want to end AIDS as a public health threat, we must listen to key populations, bolster their efforts and help scale what works. Fulfilling this promise is necessary to safeguard human dignity and development.”
“I applaud the new partnership between PEPFAR and UNDP to achieve the 10-10-10 targets for people living with HIV and other key populations in PEPFAR countries by 2025.” notes Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This two-year initiative works to eliminate punitive and discriminatory laws against those living with HIV/AIDS. We cannot achieve our shared goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation while these laws are on the books. That is why we must pass H.R. 6111, the REPEAL (Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal) HIV Discrimination Act of 2022.”
UNDP and PEPFAR are committed to advancing an equitable global response to HIV that leaves no one behind. UNDP is leveraging its longstanding partnerships in HIV and health, including a long history collaborating and partnering with key populations, civil society, governments, multilateral and other stakeholders. UNDP is also building on a wealth of experience supporting 90 countries to follow up on the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, integrate programming for gender, human rights and key populations in Global Fund policies and programmes and scale up access to justice.
PEPFAR’s new strategic direction outlines a clear commitment to reduce new HIV infections, particularly in key populations. A central component of the plan, Health Equity for Priority Populations, is to dismantle the social and structural barriers that hold back progress.
“Achieving health equity is critical to ensuring that we reach the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy. “Pandemics don’t affect all populations the same. Our partnership with UNDP will help address the gaps that remain in the HIV/AIDS response that threaten the lives of the most vulnerable and our ability to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In partnership with communities and governments, our collective support of structural interventions can close the inequity gaps impacting key populations.”
To learn more about the UNDP-PEPFAR partnership, please visit:
Twitter: @UNDP @UNDPHIVHealth
UNDP: Sangita Khadka, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +1 212 906 5043
About the United Nations Development Programme
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.
Learn more at undp.org or follow at @UNDP.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, enabled by strong bipartisan support across ten U.S. congresses and four presidential administrations, and through the American people’s generosity. PEPFAR shows the power of what is possible through compassionate, cost-effective, accountable, and transparent American foreign assistance. The Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Global Health Diplomacy leads, manages, and oversees PEPFAR. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government has invested over $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response, the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, saving 21 million lives, preventing millions of HIV infections, and accelerating progress toward controlling the global HIV/AIDS pandemic in more than 50 countries.