By Vivek Divan, Policy Specialist, UNDP
I have been working for several years with policy- and law-makers to support a rights-based response to HIV and contribute to stemming the tide of the epidemic.
This work often requires raising highly controversial and discomfiting issues such as class, sexuality, gender and stigmatized behaviors such as drug use. It also involves the most marginalized society groups– sex workers, transgender people, homosexual men and drug users.
Yangon - More than 60 people representing the communities affected by HIV, TB and cancer, as well as health service providers and policy makers last week participated in a consultation on Myanmar's draft intellectual property law, marking an important step ensuring that community voices are included in the new legislation.
Historically, involuntary sterilization, as a means of achieving genetic 'strength' and implementing population control policies, has involved serious human rights violations. The most marginalized groups have been the target of these practices, which persist today and in some places are codified in law.
The people most often subjected to these abusive practices are women, especially those living in poverty, women living with HIV, women with disabilities, minority and indigenous women, and transgender and intersex persons.
The HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Act was passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 13 May 2014. We have learned with great dismay that the Act contains punitive provisions including the imposition of lengthy custodial sentences for the intentional transmission of HIV (up to 10 years) and attempted transmission (up to 5 years).
The HIV Prevention and AIDS Control Act was enacted despite an overwhelming body of evidence cited in our report and several other sources which show the harmful impact of these well-intentioned but ultimately misguided laws. Sadly, this development in Uganda is not isolated. Our report found that more than 60 countries around the world have criminalized at least one aspect of HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure.
New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a new guidebook today encouraging low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to make greater use of competition law and policy to increase access to HIV treatment and other health technologies.
Governments and civil society actors in a growing number of countries have successfully used competition law to promote healthy, open and fair market conditions in the health technologies sector, "yet many others are only now recognizing the importance of competition law, and are beginning to devote more legislative and administrative resources to the field," Frederick Abbott, editor and one of the five authors of the Guidebook, said.