Sex workers, people who use drugs, LGBT people and their sexual partners account for 47 per cent of new HIV infections worldwide. Key populations face multiple barriers in accessing HIV and other health services. As a result of the stigma attached to sex work, drug use and homosexuality, as well as fears about HIV transmission, they experience social hostility and discrimination, including by healthcare workers. Anxiety about the refusal of services and unfriendly treatment make key populations less inclined to have an HIV test and, if necessary, seek treatment.
In addition, many countries have punitive laws against sex work, drug use, same-sex sexual behaviour and transgressing gender norms. These obstacles together create an environment where accessing services and enjoying human rights are extremely challenging for key populations. This makes the AIDS epidemic both a health and human rights crisis.
Our work is based on the premise that we can only stop the spread of HIV and its impact by focusing on the groups most affected: