Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, the linking of HIV with same-sex intimacy, and the stigma and homophobia associated with2SLGBTQ+ communities, has meant fewer resources have been devoted to prevention and education initiatives. The criminalization and marginalization of gay men and other sexual minorities in many countries handicap national HIV responses.
Examples of the impact of homophobia on responses to HIV prevention, and on the care, support, and treatment of people living with HIV include the following:
- Governments have been, and continue to be, less committed to fighting the disease because HIV has primarily affected gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), along with other marginalized populations.
- Some people may not seek (or may not seek early enough) testing, support and treatment for HIV-related illnesses because of pervasive homophobia among healthcare providers and a fear of being identified as gay, especially in countries where same-sex intimacy is a crime.
- Healthcare providers are discouraged from delivering care to gay men and other MSM, as they too may fear for their safety or may themselves stigmatize and discriminate against MSM.
- MSM are more vulnerable to contracting HIV because school systems and other educators remain reluctant to provide positive education about sexuality or HIV prevention.
Our work includes intervening in courts, before legislators and other policymakers, UN human rights bodies, and other stakeholders on the impacts of criminalization and discrimination on the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people, focusing on their right to health and access to critical HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
While the HIV Legal Network is based in Canada, our work extends all over the world. From advocacy to defend the human rights of people who use drugs in Russia and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, to collaborating with local partners to challenge HIV criminalization in Africa, to supporting litigation against homophobic laws … Read more
The HIV Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with HIV or AIDS and other populations disproportionately affected by HIV and criminalization, in Canada and internationally. In 2021, we undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought … Read more
In 2021, the HIV Legal Network undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought the input of a broad range of stakeholders, from partner organizations to people living with and affected by HIV and criminalization, to staff. All identified … Read more
The path to human rights for all is in view with collaboration, collective advocacy, and community building. To view the 2021-2022 annual report, click here.
Submission to the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
In response to the call for input from the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (to inform his presentation to the 50th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council), the HIV Legal Network makes this submission regarding human rights violations against LGBTQ+ people in the … Read more
STATEMENT: DOMINICA TO HEAR CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE ON LGBT RIGHTS For immediate release – The following can be attributed to Minority Rights Dominica (MiRiDom) and the HIV Legal Network. September 28, 2022 — Today, in a critical step forward for human rights, the High Court of Justice in Dominica will hear a constitutional challenge from a … Read more
LGBTQ RIGHTS AND THE CHURCH: Intimate Conviction 2 Volume Launches in Dominica Laws Criminalizing Consensual Same-Sex Intimacy Still Exist in More Than 60 Countries Worldwide For immediate release March 28, 2022 — Roseau, Dominica — On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, the launch of the Intimate Conviction 2: Continuing the Decriminalization Dialogue volume will be held in … Read more
WORLD AIDS DAY 2021: FORTY YEARS OF HIV, FORTY YEARS OF PROGRESS The following can be attributed to the HIV Legal Network. November 30, 2021 – Toronto – Tomorrow is World AIDS Day — a day to reflect on the current state of HIV and AIDS in the world, where we started, and how … Read more
BREAKING: AIDS-Free World and HIV Legal Network Release Delayed IACHR Report Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Censures Jamaica for Violating the Rights of LGBTI Citizens, Recommends Repeal of Homophobic Law Criminalizing Consensual Sex FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 17, 2021—In response to the first-ever petition filed in this matter, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights … Read more
NEWS RELEASE: JAMAICAN COURT ALLOWS TV STATIONS TO CENSOR ADVERTISEMENT URGING RESPECT FOR LGBT PEOPLE
JAMAICAN COURT ALLOWS TV STATIONS TO CENSOR ADVERTISEMENT URGING RESPECT FOR LGBT PEOPLE October 30, 2020 — Today the Jamaican Court of Appeal delivered its decision in a landmark case by Jamaican-Canadian attorney and human rights activist, Maurice Tomlinson, who is also an LGBTQ rights consultant with the HIV Legal Network. The case, … Read more