Photo Credit: UN ESCAP

The HIV epidemic in Asia and the Pacific continues to outpace the response. New infections are primarily concentrated among key populations at higher risk - people who buy and sell sex, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and transgender people. Individuals from these groups face legal and policy barriers which impede their access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. While many countries in Asia and the Pacific have taken concrete steps to reform national laws that impeded universal access to HIV services, punitive laws, policies and practices remain widespread.

According to available data (from IPPF, GNP+, ILGA, IHRA, HRW, UNAIDS and the United States Department of State):

  • 17 countries are known to impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status
  • 16 countries are known to provide the death penalty for drug-related offences
  • 12 countries are known to maintain compulsory detention centres for people who use drugs
  • 35 countries are known to criminalize some aspect of sex work
  • 22 countries are known to criminalize same-sex relations.

ESCAP’s response to HIV and AIDS is guided by the Regional Framework for Action adopted during the “Asia-Pacific High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Assessment of Progress against Commitments in the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and the Millennium Development Goals”, which was convened by ESCAP, with the support of seven other UN entities, from 6 to 8 February 2012.

ESCAP provides technical support to governments and other stakeholders in:

  • Creating inclusive platforms to promote regional cooperation among Asia-Pacific governments, with active participation from people living with HIV, civil society and private-sector groups, to address these challenges.
  • Providing technical support to Asia-Pacific governments to carry out national multisectoral consultations on policy and legal barriers to universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.
  • Providing technical support to support Asia-Pacific governments to carry out participatory and inclusive national reviews on implementing ESCAP resolutions 66/10 and 67/9, and the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.
  • Strengthening the evidence base on good practices and lessons learned in meeting regional and international commitments on HIV and AIDS.