Only one in ten men who have sex with men has access to HIV care due to violation of human rights

Across the globe, only one in ten men who have sexual relations with other men has access to sex education, HIV care and healthcare treatment. Due to anti-gay laws and stigmatisation their right to health care is jeopardized, while they are at a high risk for HIV. Bridging the Gaps partner Aidsfonds defends this right to health care and has initiated the launch of the #dutchkiss campaign in solidarity with the global LGBT community. An international symbol of the universal right to respect, free choice of partner and health care. The Aidsfonds is calling on people to participate and share this Valentine’s Day message: Let’s Fight Intolerance with Love. Let’s spread the #dutchkiss.

Too many gay and bisexual men throughout the world are either too scared or not able to go to a physician. Either because they are afraid of facing humiliation, rejection or even violence due to their sexual orientation, or because nurses and doctors are worried that they will be prosecuted.  says Ton Coenen, director of the Aidsfonds.

This is true for LGBT members in Russia, the country with the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world, but also for gay men in countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and India.

Appeal to the Dutch government

The Aidsfonds has asked the Dutch Minister of Public Health, Edith Schippers, and the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to call attention to this threat to the human right to health care during the Winter Olympics in Russia. Director Ton Coenen is appealing to the government to do this in all countries where anti-gay laws are obstructing this basic human right. Also during the trade mission to Nigeria which Minister Lilianne Ploumen has scheduled for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation later on this year.

More gay rights equals less HIV

Research demonstrates that stigmatisation and discrimination of LGBT people lead to an increase of the HIV epidemic, and that more rights and less stigmas lead to less HIV. Therefore, the Netherlands must also continue to defend the rights of gay and bisexual men in countries in which the HIV epidemic is spreading unnecessarily.

Everyone has a right to respect and free choice of partner, in addition to which the right to health care is a basic human right. Laws and stigmas that stand in the way of that right must be abolished. Ton Coenen – Executive Director Aidsfonds

Education punishable by law

In 76 countries same-sex intercourse is punishable by law. This directly jeopardizes the work of outreach workers. In these countries, merely providing education regarding safe sex could be punishable by law. Together with its partners COC, MSMGF and a diversity of in-country organisations Aidsfonds addresses this issue in Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Zimbabwe through the Bridging the Gaps programme.

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