Global Commission on HIV and the Law Jan 2014 newsletter highlights important legal and policy developments as well as new resources

We are pleased to share this first Newsletter Issue of 2014 containing several important developments. Perhaps most significantly, there have been a number of controversial recent anti-LGBT rulings and legislation around the world. In the same week in December, both Nigeria and Uganda adopted harsh new anti-LGBT related laws, which no doubt will have repercussions on the HIV response in those countries. Also, in December in response to the Supreme Court of India’s overruling of an earlier lower court decision to strike down an anti-sodomy law, effectively recriminalizing same sex behavior, former Commissioners of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law jointly issued a statement expressing dismay at the decision of the country’s top court. On a more positive note, in October Uzbekistan lifted all restrictions on entry, stay and residence for people living with HIV – see this UNAIDS infographic on current travel restrictions for PLHIV.

Several national and local level dialogues on HIV, human rights and the law were held in recent months, including in Brazil (November), China (December), Democratic Republic of Congo (November), and Dominican Republic (June). On 28-31 October, the first Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Judicial Dialogue on HIV and the Law was held in Nairobi. Also in October, UNDP and UNAIDS organized an information session on access to affordable medicines in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, attended by more than 30 parliamentarians. Visit our recently updated interactive map for more information on efforts by UN agencies, including UNDP and UNAIDS, in partnership with governments, civil society and international donors, to support countries in creating enabling legal environments for HIV responses and advance the findings and recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

A number of key knowledge products were published this past quarter, such as: Judging the epidemic: A judicial handbook on HIV, human rights and the law (UNAIDS, 2014); Protecting the rights of key HIV-affected women and girls in health care settings: A legal scan (UNDP, SAARCLAW, WAP+, 2013); HIV and human rights manual for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (French) (UNDP, 2013); Young people and the Law in Asia and the Pacific: A review of laws and policies affecting young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and HIV services (UNESCO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNDP, Youth Lead, 2013); and Compendium of Judgments for Judicial Dialogue on HIV, Human Rights and the Law in Eastern and Southern Africa (UNDP, 2013).