Bridging the Gaps: an international HIV programme on health and rights for LGBT people, sex workers and people who use drugs

Sex workers , lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people who use drugs are typically 10 to 20 times more likely to become infected by HIV while only 8% have access to HIV services. The denial of human rights has a negative impact on their health.

Our mission is to achieve universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs. In our approach we want to create added value by focusing simultaneously on all three key populations and on the crossovers between them in one single programme. Moreover, we link human rights and health as well as community level work with global advocacy.  As an alliance of five Dutch-based organisations, four global key population networks and more than 70 local partner organisations Bridging the Gaps is one of the biggest programmes of its kind that works with and for the health and rights of key populations. In the first phase of the programme (2011-2015), Bridging the Gaps has reached more than one million people with HIV prevention, treatment, care and support that match their needs.

Bridging the Gaps 2016-2020

As long as policies are not rights-based and key populations are criminalised, barriers to HIV services will remain and we will not reach the global target of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030. In the second phase of Bridging the Gaps (2016-2020), we will build on the experiences and results of the first phase of the programme, with an increased focus on:

  • cross-fertilising work across key populations to improve the effectiveness of our activities;
  • ensuring that the global AIDS response reflect the concerns and needs of key populations and that local responses are aligned to global aims;
  • creating innovative partnerships with new stakeholders;
  • developing sustainable local initiatives by strengthening the capacity of key population organisations;
  • embracing flexibility and entrepreneurialism to enable country partners to work in innovative ways that guarantee results.

Theory of change: sex workers, people who use drugs and LGBT people claim a rights-based HIV and SRHR response

The Bridging the Gaps alliance hosts a diverse group of organisations and our shared Theory of Change captures our joint ambitions and plans as well as our shared commitment to achieve these goals. To protect the rights of key populations, our interrelated long term goals are:

  • a strengthened civil society that holds governments to account;
  • an increased fulfilment of the human rights of key populations; and
  • improved sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and fewer HIV transmissions.