Global Fund News Release
14 January 2014
GENEVA — UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria express deep concern that access to HIV services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people will be severely affected by a new law in Nigeria––further criminalizing LGBT people, organizations and activities, as well as people who support them.
The new law could prevent access to essential HIV services for LGBT people who may be at high risk of HIV infection, undermining the success of the Presidential Comprehensive Response Plan for HIV/AIDS which was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan less than a year ago.
The health, development and human rights implications of the new law are potentially far-reaching. Homosexuality is already criminalized in Nigeria. The new law further criminalizes LGBT people, organizations and activities. The law states: “A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable to conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.”
The law also criminalizes any individuals or group of people who support “the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies and organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria.” The conviction is also 10 years imprisonment.
The provisions of the law could lead to increased homophobia, discrimination, denial of HIV services and violence based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It could also be used against organizations working to provide HIV prevention and treatment services to LGBT people.
Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally––in 2012 there were an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV in Nigeria. In 2010, national HIV prevalence in Nigeria was estimated at 4 percent among the general population and 17 percent among men who have sex with men.
In the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, all UN Member States committed to removing legal barriers and passing laws to protect populations vulnerable to HIV.
UNAIDS and the Global Fund call for an urgent review of the constitutionality of the law in light of the serious public health and human rights implications and urge Nigeria to put comprehensive measures in place to protect the ongoing delivery of HIV services to LGBT people in Nigeria without fear of arrest or other reprisals. UNAIDS and the Global Fund will continue to work with the Nigerian authorities and civil society organisations to ensure continued and safe access to HIV services for all people in Nigeria.
UNAIDS and the Global Fund urge all governments to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, through repealing criminal laws against adult consensual same sex sexual conduct; implementing laws to protect them from violence and discrimination; promoting campaigns that address homophobia and transphobia; and ensuring that adequate health services are provided to address their needs.
08 January 2014 – From the UNAIDS website
Millions of people live in fear and isolation because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Towards a free and equal world is an info-graphic that highlights the 78 countries where adult consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalized including the 7 countries where this conduct is punishable by death. We know that ending punitive laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity reinforces human rights and supports access to life-saving HIV services. The agenda addressing criminalization, supportive legal and protected environment is critical to achieving the UNAIDS vision of Zero new infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.
From the 18 September 2013 Global Fund News Release
YAOUNDE, Cameroon – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Cameroon jointly announced that they are both significantly increasing their funding for anti-retroviral drugs to meet the country’s fast–growing HIV treatment needs.
The Global Fund has approved a $US 20 million grant agreement for HIV treatment while Cameroon said it will nearly double the amount for purchasing anti-retroviral medicines in its annual budget, which will increase to $US 20 million in 2014 from $US 11 million.
The new joint funding initiatives, which make a big contribution to securing anti-retroviral treatment for more than 122,000 people, were announced by Cameroon’s Health Minister, Andre Mama Fouda, and by Lelio Marmora, the Global Fund’s head for Africa and the Middle East, at a news conference in Yaoundé on Tuesday evening.
“This new funding from the Global Fund and from Cameroon is going to make a real difference,” said Marmora. “We warmly welcome the government’s strong initiative in helping to put the procurement and supply of antiretroviral medicines on a strong footing.”
Minister Fouda said Cameroon was strongly committed to sharing the cost with the Global Fund of funding a significant increase in the number of people living with HIV who receive anti-retroviral treatment in the country.
“We must mobilize all our energy to achieve this goal and that means each of us must play an important part,” said Minister Fouda.
Today’s news means that extraordinary funding of $US 10 million announced by President Paul Biya in August to help cover antiretroviral needs until October 2014 will now be consolidated in the national budget on an annually recurring basis.
The number of people living with HIV who receive antiretroviral treatment has more than doubled since 2009. At the end of 2012, 122,000 people were on HIV treatment, or 42 percent of those requiring it. On average in 2012, some 1,400 new patients were starting treatment with anti-retroviral medicines every month.
Marmora and Minister Fouda said the Global Fund and Cameroon would also work together on a nationwide campaign, starting in 2015, to distribute up to 12 million long lasting insecticide-treated nets and provide every family in the country with protection against mosquitoes. More than 8 million nets distributed in an earlier campaign in 2011 will be starting to wear out by the time the 2015 campaign is launched.
“The Global Fund is strongly committed to supporting the net distribution campaign and will concentrate its resources and efforts on purchasing the long lasting nets, allowing Cameroon to distribute them throughout the country,” said Marmora.
Malaria is the leading cause of death among children under 5 in Cameroon.
The Global Fund and the U.S. President Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are also providing US$10 million of emergency funding to Cameroon in order to keep supplies of antiretroviral drugs flowing until the end of 2013.
Minister Fouda said all people, regardless of ethnic origin and religious belief, and including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in Cameroon had unrestrained access to healthcare. “When somebody has a health problem, we treat the illness”, he said. “The right to treatment and to receiving healthcare is not in any way discriminatory.”
Marmora said the Global Fund condemned all forms of violence against people because of sexual orientation or perceived HIV status, adding that discrimination and criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people undermined efforts to defeat the HIV epidemic.
The murder of Eric Ohena Lembembe, a prominent Cameroonian journalist and LGBT activist, in July drew widespread international condemnation.
NAIROBI, Kenya – In a joint visit to Kenya, the leaders of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria signalled strong partnership to defeat infectious diseases including HIV and TB.
Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, and Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, met with leaders in Kenya’s new government, as well as Civil Society Organizations and other partners.
At a signing ceremony in Nairobi, two new grant agreements demonstrated a commitment to work together with partners. The grants, worth US$27 million, will support programs implemented jointly by the Ministry of Finance of Kenya and by AMREF, a civil society organization that has been working improving the health of African communities for over 50 years.
“In Kenya, and in other countries, the most effective prevention often comes by reaching those most vulnerable to infection,” said Dr. Dybul. “We can be most effective when all partners are moving in the same direction.”
The new grants will support programs that improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, reduce diagnostic delays in vulnerable populations, and provide nutritional support to TB patients. They will also cover TB/HIV co-infected patients and particularly vulnerable populations, including prisoners, people living in informal settlements and mobile populations.
“Kenya can have a profound effect on the AIDS response if it continues to lead in a people-centred approach to health” said Mr. Sidibe. “If all people in Kenya can access essential health services with dignity and without fear – then surely this country can tip the balance of the epidemic in Africa.”
The UNAIDS Country office spent $420,000 on GFATM related work since 2010 with a focus on supporting the governance and oversight of the Kenya Coordinating Mechanism, as well as through technical support for the development of future grants and unblocking barriers in the flow of funds. UNAIDS’ technical support helped to ensure the successful agreement between the Government of Kenya and the Global Fund for the implementation of its Round 10 grants of US$483 million.
UNAIDS, the Global Fund and PEPFAR are working closely to support the Government of Kenya to eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive. Since 2009, Kenya has reduced new infections among children by 44 percent but still reported 13,000 new infections among children in 2012.
Kenya is ranked 13th among the 22 high-burden TB countries in the world. Since 1990, the absolute number of TB cases notified increased ten-fold in Kenya, as the TB case notification rates for all cases in Kenya has increased from below 50 per 100,000 in 1990 to 329 per 100,000 people in 2008. The HIV epidemic is the most significant driver of the increase in the TB burden in Kenya. In 2008, HIV testing among TB patients increased to 83 percent, with 45 percent being dually infected.
The International AIDS Conference 2012 was launched last night in Washington, DC. Around 20,000 delegates from 200 countries are expected to attend, as a unique gathering of world leaders, academics, activists, policy makers and civil society join together to fortify a global effort to fight HIV & AIDS over the conference’s week-long proceedings.
AIDS 2012 comes at an opportune time, with UNAIDS releasing its latest report, ‘Together we will end AIDS’ on July 18. With a record 8 million people are now receiving antiretroviral therapy across the globe, the report provides the scope and size of the epidemic, and announces that more countries are now increasing their own share of investments for HIV. Dr Diane Havlir, an AIDS specialist from San Francisco spoke during the opening ceremony and said it would be “an extraordinary failure of global will and conscience” if the US government blocks federal funding. Dr Havlir said that we have the chance to “start to end AIDS”.
Here is a snapshot from the official AIDS 2012 conference trailer ‘Turning the Tide Together’: