GNP+ and UNAIDS have released 'Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention: Operational Guidelines' this week introducing 'Treatment 2015'. With less than a 1000 days remaining to reach the critical target of 15 million people on antiretroviral therapy by 2015.
Sex workers are one of the key populations that HIV testing and treatment programmes fail to reach. Stigma often lies behind this failure of HIV testing and treatment programmes reaching key populations. Members of these populations who are diagnosed with HIV experience hostility, service denial or other forms of discrimination when they are looking for access to treatment services. These guidelines recognises that key populations such as sex workers should not be denied access to treatment services and that denial of access should not be state sanctioned through punitive laws and policies.
As such to further expand treatment access, the guidelines recommend that countries should take steps to overcome the deterrent effects of stigma and discrimination. Countries should speed up the legal and policy review process to eliminate barriers to HIV treatment uptake. Recommendations include that laws which allow for the mandatory testing of sex workers and people who use drugs, among other discriminatory laws, be replaced with laws that protect against discrimination and support access to voluntary HIV testing, counselling and treatment.
You can view the guidelines and report here.