On Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS urges Asia Pacific countries to decriminalise to save lives

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02/27/2023

On Zero Discrimination Day, commemorated on March 1, UNAIDS highlights the need to remove laws that criminalise people living with HIV and key populations. (Key populations are communities at higher risk of HIV infection including gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people and people in prisons and other closed settings.) The 2023 theme, “Save lives: Decriminalise”, points to the positive impact on health and life outcomes when discriminatory and punitive laws are removed. “Criminal laws targeting key populations and people living with HIV violate human rights, deepen the stigma people face and put them in danger by creating barriers to the support and services they need,” said UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Eamonn Murphy. “Decriminalisation is an essential step toward building a supportive legal and policy environment that addresses the social determinants of health.” UNAIDS is sharing the stories of people in Asia and the Pacific who have experienced reduced access to healthcare, justice and other human rights due to criminal laws and the prejudice they perpetuate.

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