Key populations living with HIV

People living with HIV who belong to key populations often face double stigma and multiple challenges with respect to accessing services and exercising their human rights.

Key populations living with HIV face stigma due to fear and ignorance surrounding HIV transmission; and stigma due to negative societal attitudes and perceptions that exist towards same-sex relations, sex work and drug use.

MSM, people who use drugs and sex workers are 10 to 20 times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population. Despite these high infection rates, among key populations only 8 % of those in need have consistent access to prevention, care and treatment services.

In most countries the HIV response is not sensitive to the needs of key populations living with HIV. Standard HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services often do not include relevant information for key populations living with HIV to live healthy and dignified lives. Healthcare providers are uninformed or there are legal and policy barriers that make it impossible to discuss sex work, drug use and same-sex relations in a health care setting.

These societal attitudes are reflected in HIV organisations and networks of people living with HIV. In many HIV organisations people living with HIV are not willing to be open about their HIV status due to a fear of discrimination. And, in many of the hundreds of networks of people living with HIV around the world, key populations living with HIV cannot be open about same-sex relations, sex work or drug use.

Bridging the Gaps: working with and for key populations living with HIV by

  • Analysing of evidence to inform policy and action;
  • Targeted global advocacy with donors, UN agencies and multilaterals;
  • Building treatment literacy and capacity for treatment access advocacy;
  • Greater coordination between networks of people living with HIV and networks of key populations, including advocacy toward broader civil society;
  • Strengthening the capacity of networks of people living with HIV, including development of resource mobilisation skills.

GIPA (greater involvement of people living with HIV) is an underlying principle in our in-country projects for sex workers, people who use drugs and LGBT people. In addition, our global advocacy projects aim to create synergy and efficiency towards a joint lobby and advocacy strategy for the key populations at stake.