This statement is made by COC Netherlands, The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF), and the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association ILGA-Europe – also on behalf of their partners in the “Bridging the Gap” Programme: AidsFonds, The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), The International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Aids Foundation East-West (AFEW), Mainline; as well as International Civil Society Support (ICSS) – and in-country partners in the Eastern Europe Central Asia region.[Let me first welcome UN Women to the UNAIDS partnership.]
Let me thank the Executive Director for his report to the PCB, and also express our appreciation for his supportive remarks on 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
However, it is with great concern that we see a growing trend of proposed legislation in member states in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region banning so-called “propaganda of homosexuality”, in one form or another.
Under such legislation, publications on safe sex, health rights and HIV prevention aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – including publications prepared with guidance and or support from WHO and UNAIDS – could be banned. The possession or distribution of such materials may lead to criminal prosecution. This would not just affect LGBT people seeking health services, but also the work of health workers and human rights defenders.
Not only is such legislation blatantly homophobic, it could have a severe negative impact on the HIV response among men who have sex with men and transgender people in these countries. It exacerbates pre-existing discrimination in health care, and could deter LGBT people from seeking health services.
Furthermore, these proposed laws lay responsibility for HIV transmission solely at the feet of men who have sex with men, which simply fuels the stigma and discrimination that member states have so recently committed to eradicate.
With reference to the conclusions of the 26th PCB[i] and the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council[ii], noting the universal human right that LGBT people have to the highest attainable standard of health, noting the severe negative impact that proposed legislation in member states could have on the HIV response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region,
we ask UNAIDS to use its convening authority to urge member states:
(1) to uphold their commitments to a dedicated HIV response as made in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS;
(2) to uphold human rights of LGBT people which is a prerequisite for effective prevention and health work by denouncing any of such law initiatives;
– and –
ask the Executive Director to speak out strongly against such legislation.
[i] UNAIDS PCB, 26th session, 22-24 June 2010: Decisions, Recommendations and Conclusions
[ii] UN Human Rights Council, 19th session, 17 November 2011,
“Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals
based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.” –
Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.