SCALE: Removing Barriers to HIV Services

Are you a person living with HIV or other key population at higher risk of HIV?
What are you or your organisation doing to counter laws that discriminate against people living with HIV and other key populations? Or to advocate for protective laws?

In November 2022 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) announced a new partnership to scale key population-led approaches to counter discriminatory laws and HIV-related criminalisation.

Key population activists around the world share how they are working to remove
legal and policy barriers standing in the way of progress on HIV.


In the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030, countries committed to urgent and transformative action to remove punitive and discriminatory laws, policies and practices that undermine HIV responses. However, no country is on track to meet these targets.

Our Aim: Drive progress on the 10-10-10 global HIV targets for and with key populations in PEPFAR-supported countries by 2025

Our Mission: Strengthen and scale key population-led efforts to counter punitive and discriminatory laws, policies and practices and HIV-related criminalisation.


Key populations face stigma, discrimination and criminalisation fueled by hostile legal and policy environments that impede access to life-saving HIV services.

Research shows that protective laws for people living with HIV and key populations contribute to better HIV outcomes, while criminalisation and discriminatory laws undermine progress. In an era of declining resources for global health, decriminalisation can be a low-cost force multiplier for other HIV-related interventions.

Have questions about how the UNDP-PEPFAR partnership plans to scale decriminalisation efforts?

Read the partnership FAQ here.

Source: UNAIDS, 2022. In Danger: UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022. (


Accelerating progress towards the 10-10-10 targets requires centering the voices, lived experience and expertise of the populations most directly impacted by discriminatory policies. The UNDP-PEPFAR Partnership therefore seeks to meaningfully engage key populations to identify and scale what is working on the ground, while strengthening key population leadership, capabilities and partnerships.

This partnership will build on the work of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, while leveraging ongoing UNDP work, such as supporting countries to reduce inequalities, strengthening inclusive governance and advancing LGBTI inclusion, UNDP will work hand in hand with PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS, the Global Partnership to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination and local key populations and civil society groups to understand what is working on the ground.


This initiative aims to accelerate action across PEPFAR countries. A series of regional consultations in partnership with key populations will inform the selection of 12-15 focus countries for year 1. The country selection process will consider where there are innovative key population-led approaches, and be informed by consultations with key populations, the ongoing work of partners and the results of a UNDP/UNAIDS Secretariat political mapping.


Press Release

Read the joint UNDP-PEPFAR partnership press release here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Read more here.