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UNAIDS: Remove discriminatory laws against LGBTI people

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UNAIDS: Remove discriminatory laws against LGBTI people

ON the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), recognised yesterday, UNAIDS is calling on all countries to remove discriminatory laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

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UNAIDS said stigma towards gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs, prisoners and other incarcerated people was reinforced by criminal laws. These laws fuelled violence, exploitation and a climate of fear, hindering efforts to make HIV services available to the people who need them.

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UNAIDS executive director Gunilla Carlsson said we all had a moral and legal obligation to remove discriminatory laws and enact laws that protected people from discrimination.

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“To end the Aids epidemic, people need to be protected from harm. We need justice and equality for all.”More than 65 countries criminalised same-sex sexual relations, including at least eight that impose the death penalty.”

Statistics show that globally, gay men and other men who have sex with men were 28 times more likely to acquire HIV and were much less likely to access HIV services.

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In 2017, gay men and other men who have sex with men accounted for 18 per cent of new HIV infections worldwide

Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was critically important that we create a world where all people can access health and social services they needed without threat of violence and discrimination. He said universal health coverage meant reaching all people

Transgender people accounted for about 0.1 to 1.1 per cent of the global population and often faced stigma, discrimination and social rejection in their homes and communities. This often prevented them from accessing the HIV services to stay healthy. It was estimated that transgender women were 13 times more likely to acquire HIV than other adults of reproductive ages, and 16.5 per cent of them were living with HIV

Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Achim Steiner said justice and protection for all were central to driving progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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He said enacting and enforcing non-discriminatory laws and policies, repealing punitive laws and enduring access to justice for all were critical to delivering on the commitment to leave no one behind

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