28th February marks the second HIV is Not a Crime Awareness Day. Launched by the Sero Project — our US partners in the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE coalition — in collaboration with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, the day has four overarching aims: to STRENGTHEN the movement by committing to ENGAGE with networks of people living with HIV and our allies working to REFORM HIV criminalisation so we can OVERCOME over-policing and targeting of people with HIV, understanding the intersection with racial, gender and sexual and reproductive justice.
The choice of date is the bridge that connects two other important US awareness days: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (7th February) and National Women & Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (10th March). Black and Brown communities — including Black and Brown women and women of trans experience — are most impacted by HIV criminalisation in the US. This date is also a symbolic nod to the legacy of the late Hollywood icon and notable AIDS activist, Elizabeth Taylor, in celebration of her birthday on 27th February.
You can find events taking place all over the United States on the HINAC Day Facebook page or by following the hashtag #HINACDay. If you would like to sign on as an individual and/or organisation in support of the US movement to end HIV criminalisation, click here.
The following day, 1st March, sees an important global event, Zero Discrimination Day, first established by UNAIDS in 2014. Zero Discrimination Day is a global solidarity movement that celebrates the right of everyone to live a full and productive life with dignity. It highlights how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and, above all, a movement for change.
Each year has a specific theme. This year’s theme is Save lives: Decriminalise. With this theme, UNAIDS is highlighting how the human rights goals of decriminalisation of people living with HIV and key populations could have a major impact on health and wellbeing — as well as help advance the end of AIDS a public health threat.
In 2021, the world set ambitious law reform targets to remove criminal laws that are undermining the HIV response and leaving criminalised populations behind. Recognising decriminalisation as a critical element in the response, countries made a commitment that by 2025 fewer than 10% of countries would have punitive legal and policy environments that affect the HIV response, including HIV criminalisation.
Unfortunately, we’re far from those targets, but there is hope. You can find events taking place all over the world by following the hashtag #ZeroDiscrimination. On Zero Discrimination Day, we’re delighted to participate in a webinar — co-hosted by the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE coalition, the Not A Criminal Campaign, and the Global Partnership to end HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination — from 12pm Central European Time that will explore how law reform is possible. Register at: http://bit.ly/3K5UJVd