Palau comes latest country to decriminalise homosexuality

THE island country of Palau located in the western Pacific Ocean has become the latest to decriminalise male homosexuality.

There are 79 countries globally that still treat gay men as criminals. A quarter of these countries are Australia's near neighbours — eight are in the Pacific region and 12 in Asia.

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Africa Focus: Ghana seeks law to protect HIV persons

Ghana is instituting a law to address HIV and AIDS related stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of persons living with HIV/AIDS, a senior official said on Friday.

Angela El-Adas, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said the new bill will help the Ghanaian legislature to effect provisions in the constitution to address the situation.

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Inextricable links: HIV and human rights

The AIDS epidemic has been characterized by the stigma and discrimination of people who are all too often already on the margins of society.

This marginalization has made it more difficult for millions of people on every continent to access much-needed HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. As we recognize International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, we cannot lose sight of the inextricable link between HIV and human rights, which should be the cornerstone of our response to and understanding of this epidemic.

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Discriminatory laws hinder Burundi’s response to HIV

On Human Rights Day (10 December), Jean Claude Kamwenbusa reports on how the criminalisation of same sex relationships in Burundi is putting people's health and lives at risk.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI), as well as sex workers, are among those most at risk of HIV infection. "Laws that criminalise consensual sexual conduct and real or perceived sexual orientation increase the risk of HIV/AIDS among the sexual minorities in Burundi," said Minani*, a member of Burundian Youth Network of HIV Positive (RNJ+).

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Middle East/North Africa HIV Rise

DUBAI, 1 December 2014 (IRIN) - Rates of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are rising faster in the Middle East and North Africa than anywhere else globally.

As the world marks World AIDS Day, experts warn that cultural stigmatization and punitive legal regimes mean many patients are left in the shadows unable to access treatment and support, leading to unnecessary loss of life and increasing transmission risks.

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