Punitive laws, policies, practices, stigma and discrimination that block effective responses to HIV are removed

In 2020, 96 countries had laws that criminalize the nondisclosure, exposure and transmission of HIV and an additional 39 countries had prosecuted such cases based on general criminal law provisions. Thirty-five countries maintained the death penalty for drug offences and 67 criminalized the consumption and/or possession of certain drugs for personal use. Sixty-nine countries criminalized consensual same-sex relations, including 6 that authorized the death penalty for such violations; 98 countries criminalized some aspect of sex work; and 13 countries criminalized transgender persons.

Decriminalization strengthens HIV responses and save lives. The percentages of people knowing their HIV status and viral suppression among people living with HIV were significantly lower in countries that criminalize people living with HIV and key populations than in countries without criminalization. Conversely, countries with laws that advance nondiscrimination, the existence of human rights institutions and responses to gender-based violence had more effective HIV outcomes.

In 2021, the Joint Programme continued to work on addressing human rights and confronting stigma and discrimination, supporting countries in creating enabling environments through, e.g. the repeal of discriminatory laws and/or the creation of new laws protecting the rights of people living with HIV. Priority was also given to continuing sensitization of judiciary law and enforcement officers on HIV and the law, including the negative impact of discriminatory laws. The Joint Programme also convened the Global Partnership for action to eliminate all forms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, supporting the participation of communities and networks of people living with HIV and key populations and civil societies.

Find more details in the SRA report.

Outputs 2016-2021

6.2National capacity to promote legal literacy, access to justice and enforcement of rights expanded
6.3Constituencies mobilized to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination in health care



Targets and Milestones 2021 Progress
Percentage of countries with mechanisms in place providing access to legal support for people living with HIV

2021: 70%

2019: 65%

2017: 60%

64% [56/87]

Percentage of countries with measures in place to reduce stigma and discrimination in health settings

2021: 60%

2019: 50%

2017: 40%

40% [35/87]

Data source: 2021 JPMS country reports.