Overcoming legal barriers to comprehensive prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG) in Asia and the Pacific

Published: August 11, 2009

Overcoming legal barriers to comprehensive prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG) in Asia and the Pacific

9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific

During the recent 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) held in Bali, Indonesia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (ACPOM) jointly convened the “Overcoming legal barriers to comprehensive prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people (TG) in Asia and the Pacific”.

Attended by over 250 conference participants, this ground breaking symposium discussed how effective and comprehensive HIV prevention among MSM and TG can take place only when a con- ducive and enabling legal environment is created that allows unimpeded dissemination of preven- tion messages and services, appropriate provision of treatment, care and support services, and the creation of confidence among the most marginalized and vulnerable to seek essential information and access services.

Currently 20 countries in the Asia Pacific Region criminalize male to male sex behavior, and these laws often taken on the force of vigilantism, leading to abuse and human rights violations. Even in the absence of criminalization, other provisions of law which violate the rights of MSM and TG and arbitrary and in appropriate enforcement obstruct HIV interventions, advocacy and outreach, and service delivery. These structural barriers significantly increase the vulnerability of MSM and TG to HIV and have an immense adverse effect on their health and human rights. This very debate was at the heart of the recent landmark ruling by the Delhi High Court that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unfairly discriminates against MSM and consenting adults in general.

-Full text of conference guide can be found

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