Global Commission on HIV and the Law Reviews Legal Barriers Obstructing Progress on AIDS in Asia-Pacific

Published: February 16, 2011

Bangkok, 16 February 2011—Thirty years after the first cases of HIV were diagnosed, 90
percent of countries in the Asia-Pacific region still have laws and practices that obstruct the
rights of people living with HIV and those at higher risk of HIV exposure.

As part of a global drive to remove barriers to progress in the AIDS response, policymakers
and community advocates will join experts from the Global Commission on HIV and the Law
in Bangkok on 17 February for the first in a series of regional dialogues to be held across the
world.

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law is an independent body comprising some of the
world’s most respected legal, human rights and HIV leaders. At this week’s dialogue,
approximately 150 participants from 22 countries will discuss and debate region-wide
experiences of restrictive and enabling legal and social environments faced by key
populations in the Asia-Pacific region, including people living with HIV.

According to UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, “The law and its application can have a
profound impact on the lives of people, especially those who are marginalized and
disempowered. The law is a powerful instrument to challenge stigma, promote public health,
and protect human rights. We have much to learn from the positive and negative
experiences in this region on the interactions between the law, legislative reform, law
enforcement practices, and public health responses.”

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